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Friday, 3 April 2015

Lonely walk, bearing a heavy load

Grey skies wept softly, gently, on the procession winding through our little town. We walked in silence behind the cross, borne by two people. Cars zoomed past as a busy world awoke to Friday, Easter weekend, last day at work, children off school, need to buy chocolate eggs, flowers, roasts, drinks. Drivers glanced in surprise, perhaps not even sure who we were, why we were doing this.

Birds chirped. Not a lot of them, but enough to remind us spring is here. Bare branches budded with green shoots in the hedges we passed. We paused at several junctures and heard sections of the Easter story – well, the Good Friday story. Jesus’ betrayal. Jesus’ trial. Jesus’ condemnation. Jesus’ torment and torture. Jesus’ own lonely walk, staggering beneath the weight of the cross, beneath the weight of the world’s sins. We walked in silence and we thought. We walked shoulder to shoulder with believers from all the Christian denominations in the town. United in our grief. United in our sorrow for the sin which condemned Jesus – not his sin, but ours.

As we gathered for a final reflection inside one of the churches, I thought of all those who, this day, are walking a lonely walk, carrying their own heavy cross. Friends we know who are terminally ill. Friends we know who have ruptured relationships with spouse or children or even parents. The families of those Christian students in Kenya, selected to die by the marauding Al Shabab extremists simply because of their faith. Families grieving the loss of loved ones in the German air disaster. The parents of the suicidal, murderous pilot of that aircraft. Those sitting alone at their kitchen tables, wondering what to do over a holiday weekend, how to fill the lonely hours, remembering happier times. Those made redundant, wondering how they will feed families, anxious to get back into work. Those feeling rejected. Those in pain. Those struggling with the onset of dementia. Those with big decisions to make.

Long, lonely walks, bearing heavy burdens, burdens meant not to be carried alone but meant to be shared. Shared with others; shared with Jesus.

‘Come to me...my yoke is easy...’

Those walking their own ways of the cross, encouraged by friends, loved ones, walking alongside them in silence. Sometimes there is nothing to say. Nothing that can really help. Nothing except an expression of love, measured by companionship along the way.

Don’t leave others to walk alone. Walk with them. Walk with them, aware that Jesus walks with them, and you, too. Listen for his words. Watch for signs of his presence. Allow his peace to flow through you into a hurting, lonely world.

Allow his peace to permeate your heart, your mind, your being. Nothing you can do or say: he has done it all and it is finished.

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