At the door of the hotel the bag-seller met me as I stepped out to see the glorious sunshine and feel the fresh air. And no, I didn’t want to buy a bag for any price really. I said to him that I just wanted to be out in the sunshine in Bethlehem.
And so started our conversation about Bethlehem! Mahmoud is a Palestinian Muslim,with perfect English. He had not been allowed to go to Jerusalem in 20 years, he was unable to find a job, this was his home and he pointed out on the skyline the buildings of the University, a church, and a mosque.
I said I would return tomorrow and carried on down the street, getting some fresh air and a chance to spend some time on my own before the start of the day.
The Via Delarosa
Below is just a snap shot of this journey.
We entered through St Stephens Gate, visited to the Pools of Bethseda and the Church of the Paralytic, with a reading from John 5. This was the place where Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to the Praetorium.
We gathered at the final station of Golgotha,
‘It is finished, Father into your hands I commit my spirit.’ John 19:30
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
There is a complex history to this place and many Christians have different ways of marking this holy place. I did not wish to take photos inside the church as we visited the tomb, the anointing stone and the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
Lunch in the streets
Bishop Graham also joined in the street scene and with Anise, our guide had a welcome seat from the shopkeeper.
The Garden of Gethsemane
Before arriving here we had tried to go to the Mount of Olives, but the police were not allowing this today.
In the garden, with the olive trees that could have been alive in the time of Jesus we stopped and dwelt there for a while and listened to the reading of Mark 14:32
We heard of the importance of the olives to Palestinians and the economic value of each tree of $ 200 per annum. In building the separation wall, 75,000 trees have been lost.
Our final stop for the day and the Dean started her journey to Jerusalem on a camel, a remarkable picture and fortunately the camel owner gave her time to rejoin us going down the steps.
At Dominus Flevit we sat for a while in wonder at the sight of Jerusalem in front of us as the sun went down. It was a chance for us all to recap on the day and to think again of the journey of Christ as he made his way to Golgotha.
The end of a day, yet another one to remember in true vividness and to hold in your heart.
About this journey?
These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.