On Monday March 23, as we in Jerusalem entered the final weeks of Lent in preparation for the Passion, Sabeel invited local community members to enter in to the Old City’s Via Dolorosa, and to walk the 14 Stations of the Contemporary Way of the Cross. This “Contemporary Way of the Cross” has been developed as an act of worship rooted in the land where Jesus was born, lived and died, linking the original events of Good Friday with the continuing suffering of the occupied people who live in that land today. It seeks to help others to understand something of the events which have shaped this troubled place over the last century and draw attention to the very real constant suffering of the Palestinian people. It strives to provide an honest account of the situation, and simply ask those who take part in this act of worship to listen, to pray for us and to pray with us as we look towards a just, comprehensive and enduring peace. (See more on our website at: http://www.sabeel.org/wayofthecross.php
For William Roberts, the Interim Executive Director, it was his first time experiencing the profound connection of current Palestinian suffering with the devotion to Suffering Servant in the heart of Jerusalem. Even though the words, prayers and songs were all in Arabic and expressed by local Palestinian Christians, the images, the sounds, the context was itself deeply moving.
And one image that rose up through the ancient brick stone walkways and into inspiring contemporary memory, is of a woman carrying the cross, accompanied by two other women. These daughters, these women of Jerusalem, are not weeping, not following, not passively standing at the foot of the cross. These women on March 23 2012 are actually carrying the cross itself, symbolizing the heavy crosses that women around the world carry. It is an image now riveted into memory, into contemporary experience of Palestinian women, with oppressed women everywhere who hold up half the sky, and journey on in faith, hope and love.