The First Waypoint: Jesus is Condemned to Death
We are standing at an old stump after walking silently from the fire ring whose ashes are cold now, since no one has been by to light a fire for weeks. The stump, rough, worn down, decaying, is under the power line. The clearing for the power line rips through the forest, a straight and open cut.
We notice the stump, the fallen trees, bringing to mind loss, diminishment, death. Loss of species, habitat, ecosystems. Wetlands, forests, grasslands on fire. The melt of glaciers and icecaps. We know the deep imbalance of health among all beings, the viral illness ravaging our human family.
AT PILATE’S PALACE
This is where the story begins. Jesus is brought to Pilate’s palace. Pilate is the Roman governor of the land. Pilate asks, “what shall I do with Jesus, who is called King of the Jews?”
The crowds, angry and confused, shout, “Crucify him!”
“What has he done?” Pilate asks.
But the crowds only shout louder, “Crucify him!” So Pilate condemns Jesus to be crucified.
Jesus is condemned to death, an experience shared by thousands across our planet as the coronavirus eats its way through human bodies and lives. What has he done? asks Pilate. But of course, there is no justice in this; no reason, no answer to Pilate’s question. Here we bring to our hearts those who have died, those who are suffering with illness, the immense number of beings whose unique beauty is lost to our earth forever.
This first waypoint is one of grief. We are confronted with the sharp loss of loved ones and the wide ocean of tears for loss of life throughout the web of the natural world, human and beyond. In our sorrow, we must be aware that like Jesus, those who are condemned to death are innocent. Species are dying, humans are dying, because the engine of progress decrees that extraction and exploitation for profit is justified. Perhaps we don’t see ourselves as part of the howling crowd, demanding crucifixion of the natural world and all that it brings. But are we bystanders, are we complicit? Do we tacitly accept the story of scarcity and the irreversible demand for continual progress? Are we willing to live by a different story, even if the crowd will turn on us? Can our grief for those we have lost and are losing, move us to a deeper courage and loving resolve?
Filming and editing by Katie Jones Pomeroy // Online design and social media coordination by Joy Houck Bauer