Our first view of the Old City was from the Mount of Olives as we prepared to walk the traditional Palm Sunday path of Jesus as he entered the Holy City. Our fist stop was at Dominus Flevit, the place from which Jesus wept over the city wishing he could shelter the people in Jerusalem as a hen shelters her chicks. However it being Sunday a mass was in process so we went further down the hill to the Grotto of Gethsemane. This is believed to be where Jesus was held after the betrayal by Judas and before being presented to Pilate. After our own worship service we moved next door to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Tomb of Mary, the traditional site for the burial of Mary mother of Jesus. From there we traveled closer to the Old City to check out the Chapel of the Upper Room which may have been built over the placed where Jesus celebrated what is known as the Last Supper and where Jesus first appeared to the disciples after the resurrection. From the Upper Room we walked to the Tomb of King David where the men went in one room and the women to another for prayer.
Driving to Bethlehem was quite an experience. It was like going into a big prison with lots of security. I don’t know all reasons for its existence but it is a shame to have to wall others in or out. In Bethlehem we visited Shepherds Field, the placer suspected to be where the angel appeared to the shepherds watching their flocks by night to bring them news of a great joy, a the birth of Jesus. From the field we went to the Church of the Nativity. This site has lots of history and is, as its name suggests, the place set aside as where Jesus was born. It is occupied by three different expressions of the faith, Armenian, Catholic and Greek Orthodox. While different than one might expect, it is moving to light candles, pray, sing and kneel at the place many believe is the spot where Jesus was born. As with most designated sites, even it weren’t at the selected spot, the event honored is in the neighborhood.
Tomorrow it is into the Old City to visit Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Pool at Bethesda, walk the Via Delarosa, pray at the Western or wailing wall and make other spiritually moving discoveries. All in all this continues to be a spiritually uplifting adventure.
As you were in worship this evening (morning for you) you were in our thoughts and prayers. One candle we lit today was for you.
Son Zell, Lexie & Jessica