A MESSAGE FROM THE HOLY LAND!
Greetings and peace to everyone in Jesus’ name! I’m sending a few thoughts and photos from my first full day in Jerusalem. What an amazing city! Home to the three great religions of the world – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – in tight, ancient quarters a symphony spiritual sights, sounds and smells co-mingle as each lifts worship to God.
Getting into Israel was easy, thanks to an excellent guide who walked us straight through security. My life long friend Lee Meyer is sharing this pilgrimage, along with 12 others from around the world Exhausted from the flight, we forced ourselves to stay awake to the point of being senseless, so we could sleep that first night. It worked.
We awoke this a.m. to a beautiful day in a holy land, and began our pilgrimage to sacred sites. I won’t recount every one of them, because we toured on foot from about 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. carried on the energy of the people and places we were meeting.
We started atop of the Mount of Olives, the high path Jesus took down on a donkey to enter David’s royal city on Palm Sunday. It offers a fabulous overview of the whole of this ancient city, including the Garden of Gethsemane, the Moslem Dome of the Rock, and several major churches. My favorite sites so far, ones that moved me the most, were: the Western Wall, and the Garden Tomb just below what’s a plausible site for Golgotha (Calvary) – which means ‘skull’ and it really does look obviously like a skull (so is a likely place Jesus was crucified, buried below in a garden tomb, then rose.}
At the Western (‘Wailing’) Wall, Jews (and some Christians like me) pray, this being the last remnant of the Temple of Israel, the one Jesus knew and once cleansed of the money changers. I stood my face to the wall (along with many other faithful Jews and some Christians) with the large stack of prayer requests Ascensionites had given me for this moment, and prayed them one by one, aloud. It took a long time and was very moving for me.
The Golgotha site and stepping in a claimed empty tomb of Jesus turned out to move me more than I expected, too. The stories of the Gospel and of the Bible in general all come alive here in unforgettable ways.
Here are few photos of those sacred places. May the God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, David and Solomon, and Jesus Christ our Savior be with you and give you a large measure of ‘Shalom’ - God’s gift of peace. Love and prayers from Jerusalem.