UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

The Palace

The Holy Week story begs many questions and imaginings

By Carolyn Pogue

During Holy Week, I imagine how it was. It's easy to travel back in my mind whenever I watch the news and see the pictures, as well as read my journal and the biblical story. I sometimes wonder if we'll ever really understand what it was all about — what it is all about? After a visit to Israel and Palestine one time, I wrote The Palace.

The guide says we are going to Caiphus’ palace
where Jesus was imprisoned.

On the street
we pass a father and son
loading lamb carcasses onto
a hand cart.
Somewhere, a rooster crows.

We walk through the cold palace remains.
I wish I’d brought a sweater.

Even if this is not the real place
(my United Church heart is cautious)
it must have been nearby,
where Jesus stood
in a place like this

I pause a moment, step away from the guide.
I need to just be here.

Back on the street
the cart with the lambs has gone
leaving a trail of blood
on the cold grey cobblestones.

As always, I enter the Holy Week story with questions, imaginings. I see Jesus taking one faltering step along the cobblestones leading out of Jerusalem, and I go to stand among the crowd. I see women and men who sneer, mock and call out for him to save himself. I see the silent disciples, hearts beating wildly in terror, shame and disbelief. I watch the soldiers, prodding him to hurry so they can get it over with and go home for the day.

I see Mary, his mother, Mary Magdalene and the other women. Their eyes never leave him. They are willing him to know that he is not alone. Not alone.

I watch Veronica bravely stepping forward to wipe his bloody, sweat-streaked face with her veil. I see Simon of Cyrene help to carry his cross when he falls on the cruel stones.

I look up and see the dark clouds blowing in to cover the bright day. I feel the wind pick up and whirl dust in tiny twisters.

And then I notice someone new. She is Mother Earth, walking beside Jesus, carrying her own cross. I see her leaving her own trail of tears and blood, sharing what it is to carry the weight of the world, sadness, forgiveness and hope all together in her heart.

I do not follow all the way up the hill but stand rooted and watch. I picture them walking up the hill to the Place of the Skull. I cannot tell if they acknowledge one another or share strength on this brutal journey. I wonder if they are thinking about what will happen after the nails are pounded in.

I will stay here for the duration. I will pray for hallelujahs.

Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!


The biggest threat to women in South Africa is their partners

by Kristy Woudstra

An investigation of why one woman is murdered every eight hours by her husband or boyfriend in this African country — and how advocates are trying to stop it.

Promotional Image


Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: My last conversation with Nanny

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the power of our final words with loved ones.

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The 28-year-old also has a unique musical ability, serving as a United Church music director, and performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image


March 2018

Egerton Ryerson: The legacy of a tarnished hero

by Mike Milne

He founded public education in Ontario — and this very magazine — while also promoting residential schools. How should we judge Ryerson today? Some students want his name and image gone.


March 2018

Church organist has been leading worship for 86 years

by Wendy Lowden

And Louise Pelley is still going strong at 98 years old.


February 2018

Pro-choice advocates still at risk despite Ontario’s new abortion law

by Jackie Gillard

Threatening messages spray-painted on their doors and lawns won’t stop those advocating for reproductive rights. If anything, they feel even more determined to help protect those seeking an abortion.


March 2018

The biggest threat to women in South Africa is their partners

by Kristy Woudstra

An investigation of why one woman is murdered every eight hours by her husband or boyfriend in this African country — and how advocates are trying to stop it.


March 2016

The fighter

by Richard Wright

When he was 13 years old, Willie Blackwater stood up to his abuser at a B.C. Indian residential school. His defiance would eventually help change the course of Canadian history.


March 2018

14 writers share their moving final conversations with loved ones

by Various Writers

These stories will make you laugh, cry and rage. Maybe they’ll spark a fond memory. Or perhaps they’ll prompt you to consider the things you need to say now, before it’s too late.

Promotional Image