Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jerusalem: Part One

Cameron and I have divided up the Jerusalem trip into two sections... so you should be reading mine first (if you desire chronological order). And here is how it all went down:

We left the kibbutz Thursday at 2:30 in the afternoon, allowing time for lunch and showering and getting things together. An approximately 2 hour drive south and through the Judean wilderness and we made it to Jerusalem, walked through the Jaffa Gate into the old city,
City Street
and a couple turns later buzzed the door at the Lutheran Guest House in the Armenian Quarter.
Dr. Schuler took the time to orient us a little as to our whereabouts and our first step was the church which some believe to be the place of the "upper room," where Jesus had the last supper with his disciples before going to trial. There is also a depiction on the wall which revisits the story from Acts chapter 12 when Peter escapes from prison, comes and knocks on the door, and the servant girl Rhoda is so excited she doesn't open the door for him but goes back and tells the other disciples he is there without even letting him inside. So... because of the upper room being in Mark's home, and the connection of the servant girl Rhoda... the Drs. Schuler call this place, the 'Mark and Rhoda' church!
We walked up and down some more narrow Jerusalem streets, past many shops, ignoring many "come look!" invitations (they get very creative in how they try to get your attention), until we made our way to the outside of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Christians remember the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. A group of us returned later Thursday evening to watch the locking of the door at 9 pm. There are six different Christian groups that have rights to the church, and because they can not agree who has the "power" to lock the door, the key is under the care of a Muslim family who comes every night to lock the door. Several people gathered outside, the door was banged loudly to get people out from inside, something was thrown at a bird to chase it away, the door was closed, a man climbed a ladder, latched the lock, and it was done. The best part was being there at that time of night when it was quiet and still.
Holy Sepulchre at Night
This brings us to Friday. The day started with the archaeologists' "Via Delarosa," the walk of Christ from trial to cross. While not the same route as the many steps acknowledged in the Catholic tradition, it is a route believed by some to be more likely the path taken by Jesus. Of course both end in the same place - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
and ultimately it doesn't really matter because whichever street he took, Jesus made that amazing and painful journey, but it is powerful to be in a real place and know that Jesus existed here so long ago. The Holy Sepulchre is beautiful; full of so many different sights and smells and sounds, so many people from everywhere crowding (sometimes not very, er, "Chrisitan-like") to touch the rock where the cross was and get inside the eticule which hosts (perhaps) the real burial place of Jesus. It is overwhelming at times, but a strange kind of wonderful.
Inside Holy Sepulchre
The Eticule
After this visit, we were off to the Western Wall and the Archaeological Park, but first stopped for lunch, where we had the shwerma (shaved lamb inside pita with various mix-ins) we've been craving for so long. Cameron was a happy guy...
Eating Shwarma
Eating MORE Shwarma!
(This picture of Cam was taken in Bethlehem the next day, but you get the point - he ate shwerma as much as he could!)
And now I'll leave you with him and the rest of our trip.

1 comment:

bsandtana said...

I'm so totally jealous! What a neat trip. How come you two make everything look fun and interesting?