It can seem that the Middle East’s top two exports are archaeology and terrorism, so it’s nice to hear that it’s the antiquities that are booming in the headlines. A planned expansion to a museum has unearthed what may be the remains of Herod the Great’s palace. This could mean that the Via Dolorosa, the traditional route of the suffering Christ on his way to Calvary, is located a bit far afield. Historians are buzzing about what it means to have uncovered the site where Jesus was tried.
This seems less earth-shattering to me. I can tell you, for example, that Jesus was tried in Paris this week, when terrorists killed 12 satirical journalists. He was tried while I was driving to work this morning and grew impatient at traffic. In fact, it is a rare and beautifully human moment when Jesus isn’t being tried somewhere, whether by outright evil or by our own petty selfishness or ignorance.
The silver lining is that we are all being tried, always and everywhere. This is not to say that life is burdensome or a series of obstacles to be overcome (though some days it can feel that way), but simply an acknowledgment that every moment present a challenge for us to grow in our faith, to help one another, to share or experience kindness. And we know that Jesus is with us, helping us through each trial, shouldering our pain, even when we sometimes cause pain ourselves.
The true site of the Via Dolorosa is not a series of streets in the Holy Land. It is the sidewalks, treadmills, and shop floors of our everyday lives. Our faith makes us want to walk the path of Jesus and reassures us that he walks our path with us.
Image courtesy of chrisroll, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.