Today was bitter sweet. We spent our last remaining hours in Jerusalem viewing a couple of the most significant places on our journey. We started on Mt. Zion, the place of David’s tomb and the Upper Room. Jesus spent His Last Supper with the disciples at this location. Sitting on top of David’s tomb, it is likely that the room was provided to Jesus by a distant relative. We then walked through the Zion Gate, through the Armenian quarter and into the Jewish Quarter. The gate was riddled with bullet holes because this was the dividing line between Israel and Jordan prior to 1967. Viewing the Cardo, or marketplace area of Jesus’ day 20 feet below us, it reminded us how Jerusalem had been conquered and rebuilt several times since the time of our Savior. We then arrived at a plaza above the Western Wall. From here we could see evidence of the smaller cardo of Jesus’ day, situated at the upper part of the Cheesemaker Valley. We could see the Western Wall (Jewish); the Dome of the Rock (Muslim); and the Church of the Ascension (Greek Orthodox) all in the same frame. What a representation of the three faiths. After praying at the Wall (and the men visiting the synagogue along side the Wall), we made our way along the Via Dolorosa to the Damascus Gate, and then to the Garden Tomb. This gave us the “feel” of Calvary and the Tomb. We ended our time there with communion. He is RISEN!!
Following lunch at Ramat Rachel overlooking Bethlehem, we made our way to the Menorah in front the of Kenneset, Israel’s parliament. It is full of meaning and was donated by the British Government. We then drove through the new part of Jerusalem, stopping in front of the Prime Minister’s residence to sign a petition for the release of Gilad Schalit. He has been in captivity by Hamas for over 1707 days. We met his father. We ended our time in the Elah Valley, site of the battle between David and Goliath.
On our long flight home, we raised the blessing, “Next Year in Jerusalem!!”
Personal Note: This was a great group and Pam and I were honored to be a part of pilgrimage with them. We look forward to future trips with other pilgrims (and returning pilgrims) :-) Shalom!!