Thursday February 11
Trails of Tears - John 19:17 (NLV)
“Jesus carried His own cross to a hill called the Place of the Skull.”
Water from the Aquarium gently weeps down the seven large panels, one for each Cherokee Clan. The combined waters then run over a series of steps down to the site of Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga. This interactive waterfall, named “The Passage,” is the site of one Cherokee departure point for the Trail of Tears. Walking barefoot thoughtfully down the steps can cause tears and empathy about the injustice done to the First Nations of this land.
Ross’s Landing was owned by John Ross, Cherokee Principal Chief. He cared for his people and fought hard in the courts to overturn the Indian Removal Act. The use of his trading post and river ferry location for the Removal caused more pain, indignation, and tears.
Many of the Cherokee people who were forced from their lands were Christians. They knew that Jesus, the One Who cared for all people, also suffered injustice and indignation. They knew about Jesus being forced to walk on a “trail of tears” to the place where He would die for the sins of all people. They recalled Jesus speaking words of comfort to the people weeping for Him despite His discomfort and pain. This gave the Cherokee hope and comfort.
As Cherokee people walked down the hill to the river, they remembered that Jesus walked up a hill where soon a river of Holy blood covered the ground; a river that became the source of forgiveness and life. And they remembered the tears of joy from the first Christians when Jesus rose from the dead. The Cherokee kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, the One who walked before them (Hebrews 12:2-3).
We also remember that Jesus has gone before us. This gives us hope and comfort that we can share with others who are on their own “trail of tears.”
Thank You for sending Jesus on a “trail of tears.” Help us to show Your love and comfort to others in their distress.