A new faith journey of discovery

Month: March 2020

Day 6 – Jerusalem.

The City before us…

A day full of emotions, crowds and friends. So many places visited today, and this outline is an indication only of the immensity of each place in spirit and history.

The Mount of Olives

We left the bus as the rain poured down and the cold wind blew. This was a different day. The view of the City of Jerusalem panned out before us, the golden dome highlighted against the dark grey sky.

Dominus Flevit

By this time we were cold and wet but undaunted, we held our service outdoors. With the church behind us we walked down the very slippery road to the gates of Jerusalem.

Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemene

Forever a special place, the place where Jesus found his task more difficult than ever and asked God if he had to do this. Peter, James and John could not keep awake with him. The remaining 8 disciples waited as Jesus returned to them when Judas came to betray him. From here the passion began and Jesus remained passive through all that would follow. For us as pilgrims, it was a place to be. A place to stay and to wonder.

Caiaphas’ House

The soldiers had taken Jesus to this house and to the dungeons below. Peter followed and denied Jesus three times. In the distance on this day we also heard the cock crow. But a place of sorrows.

Dormitian Abbey

Dormitian Abbey

This place spoke to me somehow. The sky by now had turned blue and the wind was freezing cold. This is the place where Mary may have died and taken to heaven by an angel. This is not in the gospels but possibly in the Gospel of St Thomas.

The Upper Room

We walked through the narrow streets and as young Israeli recruits were marching past, we looked at the Upper Room, a tiny window next to a pillar, well hidden from any crowds.

Bethesda The Healing Pools

The site where the paralysed man had waited for 38 years to be first in the pool and be healed. Jesus asked him to get up and walk and he did. We held a Healing Service by the pools, which was a powerful way for many to ask for healing.

Via Delarosa

The Via Dolorosa

We started to walk on the Via Delorosa at 3.45pm and it would be dark by 5.30pm But it was a good time as the narrow streets were not too busy and we stopped at all the stations of the cross for a reading and hymn. This was a powerful place full of sorrow and yet in the midst of this the street sellers would have sounded much the same. We stood on a corner of a tiny street at Station 5 were Simon the Cyrenee from North Africa was asked to help Jesus, a young man from Northern Africa came rushing past.

…further along

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The last 3 stations are in the church and by now it was dark. The church was busy and some of us went straight to the site of the cross and some waited at the tomb of Jesus. It is an Armenian Church and very ornate and a holy place full of pilgrims from all over the world.

These are shortened sections and when I return to UK I will write more on the Via Delorosa, there is much to tell…

Rev’d Sue Martin
With a happy heart..and tired feet

Day 7 – St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem

St. George’s Cathedral

We joined the congregation at the cathedral for the Eucharist in Arabic and English. Along with people from Diocese of Exeter and other places in the world. An interesting babbling sound of different languages for the prayers. Some beautiful dates and coffee afterwards.

Ain Karin

Ain Karin

This is the birthplace of John the Baptist and the site of the Visitation. A beautiful place in the countryside with rolling hills and a deep valley, birds were singing, and a few flowers were appearing. We read the Benedictus on the wall at the place where Zechariah was able to speak again. Hanna told us the meaning of the names; Zechariah – God remember me and Elizabeth – my God is my oath.

A gentle spring of water at the site where Mary stopped for water on her way to see Elizabeth and tell her the news. We stopped for coffee and a bite to eat, soaking up the atmosphere.

Yad Vashem – The Holocaust Museum

Yad Vashem

A very different and daunting museum, we wandered through, mainly in silence. No photos allowed which would have been a distraction anyway. The museum is built in a triangle and on entering, the film on the wall in front appears to be a place where you are wandering. The film is made up of a map and of Jewish people in their daily lives before the Second World War, children waving with smiling faces.

Between the displays were intersections with memories which need to be remembered, many old books, for instance, and the films of people burning many, many books by writers including Karl Marx . The last but one intersection was a simple train line and the barrier for the end of the line.

Much to say but for another day…

Rev’d Sue Martin
A day of emotions

Day 8 Abu Gosh, Ben Gurian Airport, Tel Aviv and home

Anemones at Abu Gosh

Abu Gosh is thought to be Emmaus, where two of the disciples walked to from Jerusalem. Jesus walked with them but they did not recognise him. Finally at supper, they knew him when he broke the bread.

A real place of peace, where spring flowers, anemones, cyclamen and daffodils, were so beautiful. We held our last Eucharist in The Church of the Resurrection.

Benedictine Monastery, Abu Gosh

And finally… before we entered Ben Gurian Airport to go through tight security and our journey home, we had a special treat from Hanna, our guide; he sang The Lord’s Prayer to us in Aramaic, his home language. Hanna had been an amazing guide, inspirational, patient and a source of immense understanding of the Bible.

You can see a very short film of this ‘omnibus celebration’ here…

A different voice…

An amazing end to this wonderful pilgrimage, my understanding of the whole narrative of the Old and New Testament stories has gained so much. And my soul has been filled more and more each day; through being in this place, by hearing more about the scriptures and the company of friends.

Thank you especially to The Very Reverend Jane Hedges, The Right Reverend Jonathan Meyrich, John Hanna Koury, Gemm Travel , Pilgrimage People and to all fellow pilgrims. We have all made this a special adventure, walkabout and pilgrimage to this very Holy Land. Rev’d Sue Martin

Rev’d Sue Martin
Wonderful and weary of foot
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