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Scriptural Stations of the Cross: Station 10

February 28, 2013
A cross on the Via Dolorosa.

A cross on the Via Dolorosa.

Jesus Is Crucified.

In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, there is a stairway just to the right of the main door.  At the top of those stairs is a divided chapel, which is where the crucifixion has traditionally been commemorated.  The Orthodox side is resplendent with a life-sized icon of the crucified Christ adorned with gold leaf.  Burning in front of it are racks of blazing candles.  There is also a small altar.  At any time people may be seen waiting to the side of it.  One by one, they kneel and crawl under the altar, and stay there for a few moments.

If you join the line, and crawl under the altar yourself, you will find a large hole.  Reaching down into the hole, you will touch solid rock—the rock of Mt. Calvary, the place where Jesus was crucified.  Everything else around you points to this one truth, that here in this place, the savior of the world freely chose to accept this punishment.  All of the beauty, all of the devotion, and all of the tradition are based on the tangible reality of the rock and the crucifixion that happened on it.

Jerusalem is sacred to three religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  Jews revere it because it is the center of their ancestral home and the site of their Temple, the most holy place on earth; Muslims honor it because of its connection to Mohammad, and Christians hold in their highest esteem because it is the site of their Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.

All too often, however, these three religions have been in conflict over this city.  Their sense of sacredness has led to claims of ownership, which have led in turn to violent clashes between the various children of Abraham.

Pray that there will be peace and reconciliation between these three religions in the city.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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