Sunday, March 8, 2009

In the City on a Hill

This is our first full day in Jerusalem and full is a good word to describe it. Today was "the walk of Jesus". We started the morning at the Mount of Olives. It is at a high point outside of Jerusalem. Jesus spent the night on the Mount of Olives or nearby during his last week in Jerusalem. (Luke 21:37). In modern times, the Mount of Olives is the burial ground for the Jewish people. I am posting a picture of me at the Mount of Olives. See the gold dome in the distance. Today was spent winding our way down the mount and up into and then around and through the streets of Jerusalem. There was a camel there and I put on a picture of the camel.

We followed a path that millions of Christians have followed down to the Garden of Gethsemene. All four gospels record Jesus prayer and his betrayal by the disciple Jesus that took place here. (Matthew 26:36) There are olive trees here and I've included a picture of some of them. They are very, very old.

We kept walking down the mountain and at some point you turn and start walking up the hill that takes you into Jerusalem. Old Jerusalem still has a wall around it and you enter and exit through the old city gates. We entered the city through the Lions Gate.

Through the gate we went to the Pool of Bethseda found in John 5:2-9. This is the place where Jesus healed a man who had been there for 38 years. Here, we went into Saint Anne's Church. Saint Anne is said to be Jesus' grandmother and this is a church that was made in her honor. We sang hymns in the church. I am including a picture of one of the pools (now empty) of Bethsada.
Leaving St. Anne's, we went further into this big city that is filled with people and shopping and houses on top of the shopping and churches and more people and more people. And the streets wind all around and are very, very old. We walked the "stations of the cross" in Jerusalem. These are places around the city which represent the walk Jesus made when he was about to be killed on the cross. It includes Jesus carrying his cross and falling down, Simon of Cyrene picking up the cross of Jesus, Jesus being stripped and being nailed to the cross. It ends with Jesus being placed in the tomb. These are all prayer stations and are marked by little plaques. The last of the stations ends in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is traditionally believed Gologotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. The church was built around this site. This church is huge and very holy for many, many people and denominations. There is a picture of the inside of the church, but this church has many, many different worship areas and this does not show how large it is.

It occured to me that I had not said much about food here. I will tell you about our lunch, which is typical of our lunches. You sit down and there is pita bread on the table with lots of different things you can put on it: hummus, spicy red sauce, peppers, different spicy vegetables. Then the meal comes. Today, it was spicy chicken, rice and some pepper mixture. We had an apple for dessert. Sometimes there are dates or figs or tangerines. Sometimes we have fish or beef. Always pita, hummus and rice. There is a picture of some of our lunch here.

For today....peace, Pastor Laurie

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