Her name was Egeria. She had the extraordinary opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during Holy Week. Like many tourists, she wrote a long letter to her circle of women friends in Spain to tell them about the experience of walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
With all of the other pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem that week, she entered into the procession waving palms and singing hymns as they remembered Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on that last week of his life. She makes a special note in her letter home that all the people chanted, “Blessed is the one who cometh in the name of the Lord.”
On Maundy Thursday, she tells her friends that she joined with others gathered to celebrate communion as Jesus did with his disciples. She tells of walking with the crowds up the hill towards Gethsemane reliving how Jesus asked his disciples to pray with him, how they fell asleep, how the Roman guards came to arrest him, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the fleeing of them all.
On Good Friday, she recounts how she shuffled along with the throng as they walked the path Jesus took to the cross all the way to Golgotha. There, those who could, kept vigil as the bishop baptized new Christians and clothed them in new garments.
She wrote her friends about the triumphant Easter celebration and the singular experience of the entire week.
Egeria experienced the pilgrimage. She wrote home about it. The year was 384 AD.
The year is now 2015, and we still have the extraordinary privilege to follow Jesus along the last week of his life from Palm/Passion Sunday to Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to the Vigil of Holy Saturday to the great celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. I encourage you to join the procession as we make this holy pilgrimage as Egeria did so long ago by attending our Holy Week services. The journey of our procession of faith continues with all of the faithful: past, present and future.
Peace and grace,