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Spiritual Journey

Good Friday in the Congo

It’s Good Friday, the day when Christians follow Jesus down the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering. Pilgrims in Jerusalem physically retrace Jesus’ steps from the place of his judgement to his crucifixion, and believers around the world retrace Jesus’ last steps through the Stations of the Cross. Figuratively, we can all follow him more closely by reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice in our hearts. That is how I am walking the Via Dolorosa in today the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Peace "zone" is ever possible

I had the best day, and it's only 4pm! I find myself with an unexpectedly free afternoon and am wondering how to "spend" this gift of time. While I have many more Mexico stories to share, I want to share the joy of this day with you, while reminding myself that peace can be ever present. It is palpable to me today through intentional mindfulness and prayer. It's easy to be mindful and prayerful on a peace retreat — that's my sole purpose on retreat, and I can order my day around it, starting with meditation and prayer, then walking and speaking through my day with a wide open heart.

Peace is God's gift, but we must open our hearts

It was 10:50 PM when I returned to the monastery on my first night in Rome. Tired after over 36 hours of flights, buses, and a leisurely evening out, yet energised by the adrenalin of starting a month-long adventure, I shared the highlights of my evening with Sister Leopoldina, the elderly nun serving at the desk until 11PM. Diminutive in stature, but gigantic in spirit, we picked up the threads of our earlier conversation.

I'm in Rome!

I’m in Rome! I was so eager to settle in and see the sights that every delay sorting out transportation downtown required double patience. Finally, I found the non-descript door on the non-descript street of the non-descript monastery. The welcome, however, was wonderful! Sister Leopoldina, a native Spanish speaker, and I, a native English speaker, found a common language, French, in Italy. We shared an amicable conversation about my mission, her origins (Columbia), and the lay of the neighbourhood.

September Peace Quest - On My Way

I’m on my way to Rome, the first stop on my September peace quest. I’ll spend the night in a monastery, then the next two nights in Assisi, to centre myself for the rest of the trip.

Walls are the metaphor for this trip. I’ve been fascinated by walls since my trip to Israel and Palestine last November. The separation wall made a big impact on me, and I’ve been dreaming of ways to digitally erase it, scale it, write on it, and project it - symbols of a united future, plus creative advocacy to get there. After my sojourn in Assisi, I’ll go to Geneva to seek partners to make these dreams a reality.

Walking on Water

We sang Hillsong’s Oceans (Where Feet may fail) on Sunday; it’s a beautiful song about following Jesus onto the water. It alludes to the Biblical passage in which Jesus walked past the disciples on a stormy sea, while they struggled against the wind in a boat (Matthew 14, Mark 6, John 6).

Envisioning the scene, Jesus is on the lake; I’m on the shore. If I’m going to follow Jesus, I’m going to have to get my feet wet.

Maundy Thursday

It’s Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday in the Christian calendar — the beginning of Easter, our most sacred holy day. The whole weekend is devoted to remembering Jesus’ teaching, betrayal, death, and resurrection. From Thursday to Saturday, we will keep vigil, reading Biblical records of this weekend’s events over two millennia ago. We will pray, fast, repent, and remember. We do this to reground ourselves in God’s word, God’s love, God’s sacrifice for us, and the sacrifice that God requests of us.

Good Friday

It’s Good Friday, the day Christians remember the death of Jesus. To remember more vividly, I prayed the stations of the cross at a Catholic church. The prayers led us in imagining ourselves as bystanders of Jesus as he carried his cross to the place of his execution, then envisioning Christ’s presence in our daily lives and relationships. At the end of the prayers, we made our way to the cross, kneeling before Christ to pray our silent prayers.

Easter Saturday

It’s Easter Saturday — the day after we commemorate the death of Jesus. Jesus is in the grave. It’s the Sabbath, the day of rest, so his friends cannot embalm him, or prepare for a funeral — it would go against Jewish law. But how necessary was that enforced rest for them. They must have been exhausted with shock and grief.

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