Day 2 – on way to mount of olives I was supplies by joe built up Jerusalem was however it wasn’t long in fact it was approximately 15 minutes before out of the right hand side of the bus while most were sorting out their radios I saw a small cluster of homes build from whatever materials the owners could find. They were a mall shelters approximately 3m square, only around ten of them. In the land that hope became flesh there were people with nothing. I can only guess that these were poorer or IDP’s I’ll never hear their stories but they were noticed, by few but noticed.
We started the day one the Mount of olives walking down through various church’s, cemeteries and the garden of gethsemane.
From the mount of olives you could see down into the valley, across to Zion hill, Herod palace, the dome on the rock and the old town of Jerusalem.
One of the cemeteries we visited was a Jewish cemetery where all the graves have rocks piled on them. Our guide explained that this was a way of marking a visit, like we might take flowers they add rocks.
We can then went to the garden of gethsemane a beautiful place full of olive trees and rosemary with Franciscan brothers harvesting the olives. We had a short time of worship and spent some time in the quiet. We visited Gethsemane Church also know as the Church of the nations – this is due to the funding for the Church building coming from various nations. It was a interesting place, I imagined it to be bigger and it would have been.
I wonder if people knew the impact Jesus would have would so much ‘development’ have taken place?
We then walked the Via Dolorosa which is the route Jesus would have walked to the cross, it was through the old city, surrounded by market tradespeople and other pilgrims. The stations are;
1st Station, Jesus is condemned to death.
2nd Station, Jesus carries his cross.
3rd Station, Jesus falls the first time.
4th Station, Jesus meets his mother.
5th Station, Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross.
6th Station, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
7th Station, Jesus falls the second time.
• 8th Station, Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem.
•9th Station, Jesus falls for the third time.
•10th station, Jesus is stripped of his clothes.
•11th Station, Jesus is nailed to the cross.
•12th station, Jesus dies on the cross.
•13th Station, Jesus is taken down from the cross.
14th Station, Jesus is placed in the tomb.
The busyness of the way wasn’t supporting but did make me think about Jesus walking through the crowds. Would people turn out to watch? did he have to push his way through the crowds? The agony of knowing what was to come and the physical task of carrying a cross us such narrow uphill streets. What were his thoughts going to that hill.
Finally we went to the western wall. The most meaningful for me. Spending time writing thoughts and prayers to god I was reminded of the following passage;
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
Psalm 94:18-19 NIVUK
I stood at the wall adding my piece of paper to the thousand of others that were there, somehow being a part of a corporate longing for God.
It’s been a while since I felt close to God but in that moment I felt something. My prayer for the rest of the trip is that I experience more of him each day. That I may ha e a renewed conviction of a God who cares for his people.