The hotel cat.
Started our day here. Took a group photo and then Anat described the Jerusalem as we looked over at the old city.
The Gardner let us into Dominus Flavit (the Lord wept) 15 minutes early. We saw ancient tombs and in the church Anat sang us a beautiful song in Hebrew. The church was designed by Antonio Barluzzi in the shape of a tear drop to commemorate the tears Jesus shed as he looked out over the city of Jerusalem. Matthew 23:37-39 and Luke 19:41-44.
We stopped at the Church of St. Anna, mother of Mary and the
We followed the 14 stations of the Via Dolorosa, the path Christ took as he carried his cross to Golgotha. It was bustling, crowded, and noisy. It wasn’t what I had imagined it would be. Anat pointed out the way we experienced it would have been how it would have been when Jesus’ was being crucified…people wouldn’t have stopped to watch just another criminal being crucified by the Romans. They would have went about the daily business they normally did at the markets.
Within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are the last 4 stations of the cross…by tradition believed to include Golgotha or Calvary (place of the skull), where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where Jesus was laid. Within the Holy Sepulchre are several churches, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic orthodox, Syria Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox. It was very gaudily decorated. Although we touched the tomb, where is is believed that Jesus was laid, it was hard to feel God’s presence in what a place that seemed filled by pageantry. These churches were built on the site to commemorate a place of holy meaning and the decorations are the human’s way of praising and worshiping God.
We had lunch at the Mar Elias monastery. Choices were Schwarma or a hamburger. Most people had Schwarma because we are on day 6 of the Mediterranean diet and we are longing for good old American cuisine.
We made a somber visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum. The Children’s memorial was particularly beautiful and moving, a single light reflected in mirrors represents the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. As you walk through the dimly lit path, the names of the children and their birthdays are recited in Hebrew, German and English. The question arises of how come there weren’t people who stopped this atrocity? At the end of the exhibit, they identify “righteous” people, people who helped the Jews, like Oscar Schindler. Would we have been one of the righteous people if we had been there? Michael felt angry when we were done, angry that someone didn’t stand up to the evil and prevent the deaths of so many. I felt sad. I related on the level of a mother. I thought of Anat who is Jewish, how does she feel when she walks through this museum? I also thought about how Jews have been persecuted throughout history, even though God told them they were the chosen people.
We started the day at the Garden tomb. The Garden tomb is located just outside the city walls of Jerusalem and is a possible location for the cruxifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. I don’t know if this is the real place or not, but different from the Holy Sepulchre where tradition says Jesus’ tomb and crucifixion are located, I truly feel the presence of God here. It’s a quiet peaceful garden. The message from the tour guide here is that this may have been where Jesus was crucified and buried, but most importantly his body is no longer here because he has been resurrected. We had a beautiful worship service here complete with communion.
This is believed to be the site where Jesus was held by the high priest Caiaphas for the night before his crucifixion and Jesus would have been betrayed by Peter in this courtyard. The rooster on top of the church is to represent that story. There is part of the original steps (Hasmonean steps) that Jesus would have walked from the last supper to his overnight imprisonment to await his trial by Caiphas and the Sangedrin. Our group all crammed into the pit like the one that Jesus would have been put in that night and read the passage describing it.
Where the disciples likely had the last supper
We walked from the upper room to the Jewish quarter for lunch and shopping. For lunch, we could have chicken shawarma, falafel or pizza. Michael and I had falafel, but there were lots of pizzas ordered.
Walked in the Jewish quarter and saw part of the old city of Jerusalem. Stopped at Udi’s art store. Really neat Jewish artist. He told us the story of being sick and people praying over him healed him. He gave everyone a free print, despite being closed for the last 2 years. Such a neat man and he and Pastor Paul are a beautiful picture of Christian and Jew being friends.
Wailing wall. Jean put a prayer in the wall and she and I prayed for Gitta. A place of prayer for Jewish people, but it’s beautiful that Christian and Jewish people are both praying there.
Anat is writing our names in Hebrew on our certificate of affirmation of baptism.
A long day of travel home! Back to winter, but we’ve made new friends and have been rejuvenated in our faith.