We hit up 6 churches today...and had 4 reflections mixed in on various topics.
We started off in the place where Jesus told his disciples to get the donkey for Palm Sunday.
The juxtaposition of barbed wire and cross still gets me...
Next, as we were on the Mount of Olives we heading down the hill to Dominus Flevit. (And Jesus Wept.) Not to be confused with Jesus weeping over Lazarus. This is the Jesus weeping over the city scene- as Jesus longed to gather up the flock like a hen over her brood...Beautiful beautiful views of the city, particularly the temple mount was right across from this site. (Makes sense crucifixion wise...) I spoke with the monk here- he originally came from California and he said he was called by the Holy See to come to Jerusalem. He's been here for 21 years and it is still a joy to be here in this land. What an amazing man and conversation.
After, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was by far my absolute favorite church and we did not have enough time. As evidenced in my blog and the pictures, I LOVEEEEEEEEEE mosaics. This church was covered, floor to ceiling, in mosaics. And it was dark, and lovely. This is the place where Jesus asked God 'to let this cup pass from me, but be it your will, not mine...' We touched the rock in which Jesus wept over.
Next- Mary's tomb- It was orthodox- Greek and Armenians split it. It was neat. Besides a bunch of people cutting in front of us before the tomb and then consequently took FOREVER in there. But alas, I need to be more sensitive and patient for those ahead of me. Hahaha. But it was cool- walked down maybe 40-60 feet underground into this cave of Mary. The entrance to the plaza of the church was probably about 20 feet below and then the 'cave another 40. Love it.
Next up- lunch at the Lutheran Hospice. Also good stuff. And the most AMAZING cake ever! It was a giant ho-ho. We counted and alloted ourselves 1.5 piece each. When the time was done, there were two pieces left, so 6 of us played a game to win them. I won!! (With a classmate.) In the end, we split it up between the remaining 6 vultures, aka us, that wanted the dessert, but it was a lot of fun.
We also saw some of the most beautiful stoles I've ever seen- handmade by this man in a tiny shop in the street.
Next- St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Church and the place of the Last Supper. A sister of the church, named Justina sang the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic for us. She also told us stories of the Holy Spirit and how she still comes and makes it able for communication between understanding different languages. (This is the site of Pentecost...and the first church...) The Upper Room Down is what she kept referring to the place of the Last Supper as. And, since it's from the olden days, it is down archaeologically. So we headed 'down' in the 'upper room.' Very cool. It was this tiny room, about the size of a dorm room. Also fun fact, you can't 'cross' body parts in the Syrian church. You can't cross your legs and things like that because you're only supposed to cross yourself intentionally. (But my roommate informs me, as with anything, there are 3 of any 'holy site' hahaha.
After that we went to the Church of St. Peter in Galicantu (means the cock crow). This was a modern church, built in the 1930s :) Once again though, a stunning display of mosaics and stained glass. THEN! Underneath this church is the supposed tomb of Jesus. Going down one level is another church. Going down two levels are tunnels of rock formation and the tomb of Jesus. On the outside of the church is most certainly proven a 1st century staircase.
We returned to the college around 430 and have been relaxing, updating/uploading until dinner at 7.
At 8 we have yet another lecture on Christians in the Holy Land. I can see how this will go- there really aren't any left here...however, it'll be good to study some more root causes and explore the complex issues of the land.
Tomorrow- big day! Optional (but of course we're going!!! 12/17 are going) side trip to DEAD SEA, MASADA, and QUMRAN. This will be incredible! Alan just said, we owe your parents a huge thanks for these tour guide books...so, here it is, Dad and Mom, your books and maps have aided us greatly in this land. :) Love you!!!
PS, tomorrow night, we might spend the night in the Holy Sepulcher (you can get locked in!!)...it's not like Alan or I to be late night people, as most who know us know...however, this sounds like it could be an amazing spiritual experience!
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend- pray for us when you go to church on Sunday ;)