Today I am changing things up a bit. I have changed the header of this blog. The new picture I took at the Church of All Nations in Jerusalem. It seemed more approproiate than the Boston Public Library. And I am blogging earlier today, which I’ll explain in a minute. Anyhow, enough about that.
Today was a day of considering the final days of Jesus in Jerusalem. We began the day at the church of the asecnsion, thinking – and singing about Jesus leaving and the returning one day for all of those who know him. The we took a short walk to another spot on the Mount of Olives, where we followed the Palm Sunday route down to the Dominus Flevit church. It’s a little hard to capture the sense of what it must have been like, if for no other reason than there are tour groups everywhere and the sounds of traffic and peddlers. However, with a little imagination you can block out the modern day distractions and concentrate on the reality that Christ expereinced. We sang in the chapel, a couple of brief hymns before we left to continue on to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, the church of all nations, where Christ wept in agony as he prepared to face the realities of the cross. A few of us gathered next to an ancient olive tree to sing “I Come to the Garden Alone.”
The we boarded the bus again and moved to St. Peter of Galicantu (Peter of the Cock’s Crow). This church houses some first century excavations from the house of Ciaphas where Jesus was tried – we descended into the church to look them over, seeing the pit where Jesus was held overnight before his crucifixion. After Sam Landry gave us a demonstration of the Roman torture method, we descended even further to the pit. While there, we sang, “What can Wash Away My Sins,” and were reminded that the death of Chirst is the only sufficient sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Then we moved outside the church, taking a few moments to reflect quietly on what Jesus hjad done for us. After this, we went to King David’s tomb which was closed for Shabbat, but we at least peered through the gates. Very near that location is the traditional site of the upper room, although it is impossible that the site visited is the real location. In 2009, the upper room would in fact be a basement -and certainly it did not have crusader period architecture when it housed the last supper. However, as our guide reminded us, it’s not necessarily that X marks the spot, it is rather the story that is important.
Being hungry from all the walking – and cold from the wind blowing in Jerusalem today, we moved indoors for lunch and some shopping – it turns out that Jesus is big business in Israel. The shop we visited was nice, appealing to western tourists, so it was a little pricey. I enjoyed the break, before boarding the bus again and moving on to a site opposite the southern wall of the temple mount. We enjoyed the view and a reading from Psalm 125 (v.2 says, As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people). We are back at the hotel now, and it’s early – about 3:30pm Israel time. We have come back to rest a little before heading out to the Western wall tunnel tonight at 9:00pm. That’s my normal blogging time, so I thought I would get this done before we leave tonight.
My mind and heart are full as I have reflected on my saviour in this city. I hope yours is too!
Herb the Pastor, from the 9th floor of the King Solomon Hotel, Jerusalem.