All Jerusalem celebrates major religious holidays this weekend
Jerusalem is not by any stretch a secular city. It is a teeming place where believers of the three major monotheistic religion aggressively and assertively practice their faith, in often uneasy proximity and also often at odds with their coreligionists of slightly different stripes. This year, followers of the Old and New Testaments meet on the narrow streets of Jerusalem. The Biblical story of Jesus’ last days focuses on the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal, and the Resurrection three days later. That chronology is happening again this year, with Easter weekend coinciding with Passover. The timing is close to the Christ’s last days on Earth in this very city.
On Friday, Christian pilgrims, many carrying wooden crosses, will join a solemn procession along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City to re-enact the Passion of Christ, and in the afternoon observant Jews will rush home on Friday evening for the first night of Passover. This weekend too, Christian pilgrims descend on the city to walk the Via Dolorosa, believed to be Jesus’ route to his crucifiction. And to add to the denominational mix, Friday is the Muslim sabbath, ending about the time the Jewish sabbath and Good Friday kick into gear.
My only wish this weekend that is so holy to so many will bring peace to this beleaguered planet and particularly to the Middle East, and beautiful, ancient Jersusalem most of all.