It’s that time of year in Mecca:
MINA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Thousands of pilgrims began one of the final rituals of the hajj early Thursday, each throwing seven pebbles at large stone pillars symbolizing the devil.
The majority of the 2 million pilgrims who have come here from around the world will perform the rite around midday, but those who completed the ceremony early acted under a fatwa, or religious edict, issued last year that allowed the stoning before the dawn prayers.
This has been going on for over 1,300 years and Satan is still very much alive. Maybe the pilgrims should use bigger rocks.
In all seriousness, I’m glad Jesus didn’t place a burden like the hajj on His followers. While a bit of adversity would do the body of believers some good, I’m thankful that the only obligation I have to guarantee access to heaven when I die is accepting Jesus as Lord.
Fighting the crowds in Mecca at this time of year can be deadly–over 240 people were trampled to death last year by crowds trying to get close enough to the pillars to throw their pebbles.