Monday, March 9, 2009
A Day of Three Religions
Today was an interesting day. Beautiful and sunny again, but a bit colder.
We began by going to the Temple Mount of the Dome of the Rock. This is a Muslim holy place. In the pictures of Jerusalem, you see it as the large gold dome that rises above the skyline. Only Muslims are allowed to go inside, but we walked around the outside and it is spectacular. It was built in the 600's and is the oldest coninually used place we have seen. It is also clean and has been kept in wonderful condition. The outside of it is covered with beautiful tiles.
From there we went again to the Western Wall which is a holy place to the Jewish faith. Again, it is the Western Wall of the Temple which was destroyed. Jewish (and anyone who would like) come to the wall to pray and to gather. We saw a gathering that seemed to be a Bar Mitzvah at the Wall. A Bar Mitzvah is the ceremony in which a 13 year old boy becomes a member of the Jewish worshipping community.
From the Wall, we boarded our bus and went to the place that is named as the Emmaus in the bible. Emmaus is the site of an important story to Christians. If you read the story in the bible, (Luke 24:13-52), it says that two of the disciples were walking to the city of Emmaus, the day after Jesus died. Emmaus, when a stranger appeared and walked with them. They walk and talk. When they get to Emmaus, which is 7 miles away, they have a meal together. And that is when they recognize that they have been with Jesus.
Oh yes, I forgot something, we also visited the place that is named to be Caiphas (the high priest's) courtyard where Peter denys knowing Jesus three times. There is a rooster on top of the church that sits there because the story is that Jesus had told Peter that he would "deny him 3 times before the cock (rooster) crows". They showed us a jail cell that would have been like the jail cell that Jesus would have been locked up in while he waited to be killed. It was dark and cold and sad and lonely.
After lunch, we walked around the city some. We found the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Jerusalem. I stood in the pulpit there and if I can post pictures later, I'll try to put it on the blog.
We stopped at a famous hotel named the King David hotel (it is named after King David, can you tell). Lots and lots of famous people have stayed there including all the presidents since Jimmy Carter on, the Dalai Lama, lots of stars and government people from other countries. They have their names written on stones in the hotel lobby.
It is now time for dinner. I cannot load pictures right now. Will try to load them later, but my camera ended up in someone else's backpack and I need to find it.
Peace, Pastor Laurie