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Wednesday, March 16, 2016


When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. ~ Luke 9:51

As our Lenten Pilgrimage of Prepositions continues we find ourselves in the fifth week of Lent.  For Jesus and for us, this means Jerusalem is in sight.  Some translations of Luke render the above verse, "...he set his face towards Jerusalem." Jesus knows what is ahead for him.  

The religious leaders in the Jerusalem temple have already said they want to kill him.  As long as he stays away from Jerusalem and in the countryside and small villages among his followers he is safe. This dynamic is even reflected in his coming and going in (during day) and out (at night) of Jerusalem the week before his execution. Jesus' life becomes more complicated.

In the same vein our Pilgrimage of Prepositions moves from simple prepositions to a compound one - "to-ward." We already know "to" indicates direction, but what in the world is "ward?"  

It seems that "-ward" when used as a suffix gets its meaning from an Old English word "weard" which means "turn."  Putting all of this together "toward" is much like the word "repent" - turning.  In an odd way, Jesus, by facing his dilemma, is practicing what he has been preaching - repentance. 

Sometimes repentance, which we usually understand as turning toward the light, requires turing toward our darkness and fear, facing it head on, in order to find our light.  As the old saying goes, "The path to resurrection always goes by way of the cross."

The "Passion" of Jesus is his and our story of the journey through darkness into light.  

Oops!  We just may have stumble upon our next preposition as our Pilgrimage continues...

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