Thursday, July 10, 2008

Christian Pilgrim

After crossing into Jerusalem last Friday and again on Sunday with our group, the atmosphere was and is different.  Now, we are in a large city with the abundance of life all around.  We could be Christian pilgrims with relative ease.  Of course, the cost of everything was that of a large city... much higher!

The top picture is of the Lord's prayer in Cherokee.  After our mission in 1998, one of the team members who is Cherokee inquired about how the Lord's prayer is placed in each of the languages, after talking with the people, it was relatively easy, first one must raise some money, and then provide the Lord's prayer in the script of the language, so that was accomplished through the Cherokee people and now, since 2000 it has been on display at the Church of Our Father on the Mount of Olives.  Each time I see it, I am pleased to see the Lord's prayer in so many languages... and each time there are some new languages displayed.

The second picture is at the Church of Mary's birthplace.  Mary's parents lived in Jerusalem at one point, and this is the place traditionally believed to be here home.

The third picture is an old olive tree in the garden of Gasthemi where Jesus asked the disciples to say awake with him and pray...

The last picture is the entry to the empty tomb!!!  Jesus is not there, for he is RISEN!!!  It was taken at the garden tomb just outside of the walled city of old Jerusalem.

It is important for Christian pilgrims to be present and walk the journey of Jesus, and it is even more important for Christian pilgrims to meet the people, talk with the local people and learn from their stories how important it is to them to be Christian living in Palestine and in Israel.

It is my hope that during my time here, that is what I am doing.  Through learning the language, the culture, and living with a family... through engaging people in conversation, worshipping with the local Christian community etc.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Passing through the check point

Leaving Bethlehem to go to Jerusalem takes some planning and more time that you would expect, because one never knows how much time will be needed in order to go through the check points.  Yesterday I went to Jerusalem with a fellow participant.  This was the first time I have gone to Jerusalem on my own, i.e. not with the organized group.

Parts of the day were challenging and frustrating, other parts were very plesant.

Going through the check points one sees how people are treated.  Based upon the whim of the soilders doing their jobs... to the people wanting to go to Jerusalem for work or whatever is on their schedule for the day.

For us, we were pilgrims going to see the churches on the Mount of Olives, but first we had to pass through the check point.  It makes one feel as though you were in prision, or a rat going through a rat maze.