Bethlehem, the Holy Land Trust, Jerusalem, Mount Zion, the Western Wall, King David’s tomb and the Dormition of Our Lady, and the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala
Holy Land Trust
This is a non profit organisation for Palestinian Christians, and we listened to Sami Awad, the executive director. He explained the reasoning for the organisation, the aims and the reality of life in the Palestinian Territories in Bethlehem.
Although we had already seen the wall the previous night as we crossed the checkpoint into Bethlehem, it was an enormous shock to hear about people’s lives, everyday problems from living in an enclave, and deeper problems about non representation.
The Holy Land Vision is to achieve a lasting and just peace, and all details are to be found on their website; www.holylandtrust.org.
A quote from Sami,” My grandmother on my father’s side was the greatest person in my life. She lost everything, her husband, her sons and family…’ but she said,” …as a family, we will not seek revenge, we will seek reconciliation.” And there the seed was planted.
We went to the Aida camp and Marwan gave a passionate description of life there, on the inner side of the wall. The photos give a clear picture of the scene. And as we stood and listened, a small girl came and brought bags of rubbish at the site near the wall. Perhaps the most poignant was the small boy, aged about three or four in his ‘wellies’, who just wandered in and out of the skips, looking for something to play with and then found some old planks with nails in.
Maybe I shall never forget the sight of the bullet holes in the upper storeys of the flat. The drawn curtains as they were considered to be too close to the wall and were not able to look over the other side.
On a section of the wall there were the names of lost children from the battle in July 2014, last yea. A stark reminder of the injustice that is happening. At times people cannot get through the checkpoint, they cannot find work so easily and …… maybe an article when I’m home will follow. It’s not easy to put in words the stark reality and mood in this place.
King David’s tomb
We traveled to Jerusalem on the coach, through the checkpoint and a mile along the road. We walked into the Jewish quarter to King David’s tomb. Women and men had separate entrances and this was our first venture into Jerusalem. For the women there was just a small room and an elaborate black velvet and gold cover over the ancient tomb.
The Western Wall
But at every turn there were young soldiers, walking to the square. We learnt later that they were going to a ceremony that evening. Quite why they all needed a Kalashnikov was not for me to question?
At the wall, again we were segregated and I found women, faces to the wall, chanting and swaying in deep prayer. The men also were praying and wailing, and then dancing too.
The Upper Room
As Jerusalem had been largely destroyed the Upper Room as we saw it was on the site of the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held, and you did have a sense of the supper and the room for sanctuary and safety for the disciples after the crucifixion.
Dormition of Our Lady
Further on we came across the site where it is believed that Mary was found asleep and died. She had asked to be placed in the same town where her son died.
The Latin Patriarchate
This was an amazing end to an incredible day. Father Johnny explained how hard life was for the 2% of Christians that lived in Jerusalem. The hospitality in this place was very warm and deeply thoughtful. We were invited to Evening Prayer where Bishop Graham led us all in worship.
About this journey?
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