Arriving with a different point of view
It is said the goal of travelling is to arrive with a different point of view. Indeed!
Recently my wife Jane and I walked the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. For me religion has been predominantly intellectual. Experiencing the Via changed that. The sight of the 2000 year old gnarled olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemani, the stifling heat of the narrow crowded roughly paved streets of the cross, imagining the searing pain of heavy timber on the recently scourged shoulders of Jesus and the deafening babble of a hostile crow baying for blood, was physically shuddering. The words of Kilmer’s poem ‘Prayer of a Soldier in France’ came to me with vengeance.
My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.
Somehow praying has become a little easier now.