Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin

Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin

Author:Lynn Austin [Austin, Lynn]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Religion, Christian Life, General, Spiritual Growth, Women's Issues, REL012120, REL012000, REL012130
ISBN: 9781441262196
Amazon: B00CIUJY1G
Publisher: Baker Books
Published: 2013-11-05T00:00:00+00:00


Holy Week

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

Matthew 23:37

Wild rosemary and sage perfume the early morning air as I lace on my walking shoes. Today will be a day of vigorous hiking as we retrace Jesus’ footsteps in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. I gulp down my tea, shake off my drowsiness, and ride the bus to the sleepy village of Bethany, home to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

The insignificant town where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead is about two miles from Jerusalem as the crow flies. It seems much farther as our bus drives up and over the Mount of Olives, navigating the labyrinth of narrow, traffic-packed streets. But Bethany was close enough to Jerusalem for word of Jesus’ miracle to fly there faster than a carrier pigeon. The miracle became the fuel that turned His enemies’ smoldering anger into a fiery determination to kill Him: “Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees” (John 11:45–46). The high priest, Caiaphas, decided that “it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (v. 50). “So from that day on they plotted to take his life” (v. 53).

The village of Bethany was probably just as small and tightly packed back then as it is now. Of course, a church sits on top of Lazarus’ tomb today. I file down a creepy set of narrow, stone stairs below it to see the underground tomb. It’s claustrophobic down here, worthy of a good horror film. I’m as glad to get out as Lazarus must have been.

When our visit to Bethany is finished, we set out on foot for the two-mile trek to Jerusalem, just as Jesus and His disciples did on Palm Sunday. I live in the American Midwest, where a two-mile walk along a flat prairie trail takes little time and not too much effort. But Jerusalem sits on a mountaintop with even bigger mountains surrounding it like beefy bodyguards. To reach Jesus’ destination at the Temple, we need to climb uphill to the top of the Mount of Olives, down the other side to the Kidron Valley, and then up again to the top of Mount Moriah. In Scripture, Jesus and His disciples seem to take these hills in stride. The Bible never mentions anyone huffing and puffing the way I am. No one complains or says, “Hold up while I catch my breath!” I hope my physical condition isn’t a reflection of my spiritual state.

One-third of the way to the top of the Mount of Olives, an ambitious Arab boy meets us along the path, dragging a tattered burro by a rope. “You ride? Yes?” he asks. “Only three shekels.


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