A few weeks ago I wrote about the Lenten practice of Stations of the Cross, which grew out of the pilgrimages early Christians took to Jerusalem to walk in Jesus’ footsteps in his last days. Much of what we know about this kind of pilgrimage comes from a journal kept by a Spanish nun named Egeria (or Etheria or Aetheria) who traveled to Jerusalem in the fourth century (sometime in the 380s). The nun wrote of her experiences for a group of nuns and other women back home, and it is the earliest such account that we have.... ...I find it so moving that when we have our own Palm Sunday procession with palms, we are not only walking in the footsteps of those who witnessed Jesus’ entry in to Jerusalem, but also of countless pilgrims like Egeria. To be sure, their procession and worship lasted all day, and so was a bit more immersive than our circling our sanctuary; nevertheless, we are taking part in a very ancient remembrance. The ancient liturgies continue as we move through Holy Week, following Jesus in his last days. Why not make a point to join us, and the myriad pilgrims who have gone before?
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This Sunday we begin the season of Advent, the time of preparation for both the feast of Christmas and the final coming of Christ in power and glory, as well as the start of the new liturgical year. The calendar this year gives us a short Advent season, just three full weeks, since the fourth Sunday of Advent falls on Christmas Eve....