We learned yesterday from one of our course directors, Father Laurence Hilditch, that everyone should carry around with them two pieces of paper: one that says, You are dust and ashes, and the other that says, For you, the universe was created. I thought this Christian paradox was a perfect encapsulation of the shortest Lent on record.

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We received ashes from Bishop Dawani at St. George’s Cathedral on Wednesday night, and two days later, we went straight to Good Friday when we walked the Way of the Cross this morning. As we moved through the streets of the Old City in the pre-dawn cold, we each took turns carrying the cross from station to station. The cross we used is a fraction of the size and weight of the cross that Jesus carried. I ended up carrying it for a particularly long distance, down an alleyway, up stairs, and around several corners. It felt heavier than I’d imagined and certainly awkward as my feet seemed tentative on the uneven stones. I wondered what the Muslims passing on their way to work thought about this small group of self-conscious Christians clogging up the streets. We prayed our way through our own complicity in Jesus’ death and in the mess of the world since then. Finally we arrived at the Church of the Resurrection, the basilica that covers both Golgotha, the hill of crucifixion, and the empty tomb. In 90 minutes, we moved from asking for God’s mercy for our sins and the sins done our behalf to “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!” I will confess that I rather enjoyed the thought, if only Lent were 3 days instead of 40!