Note: our Director of Christian Education, Michael Farmer, is on a trip to Israel through his studies at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. While there, he is sending periodic updates about what he's been doing.
Boy am I tired! This was our first full day in Jerusalem. We followed the Palm Sunday trail and visited many of the churches on the Mt of Olives and Gethsemane. This was beautiful holy ground, and not at all the terrain I was expecting. It was steep and hilly with narrow roads. In Jesus time it wasn't very well manicured either. We went to the Church of Our Father which had the Lord's prayer written in all languages. It was very moving. We also went to the spot where they say Jesus assended to heaven. Historical speaking this might not be the exact spot but that doesn't diminish the meaning of the site for Christains for hundreds of years.
We also visited the dome of the rock which was unique. It's a holy place controlled by Muslims but we had to pass through Israeli guards with machine guns to get in. There was no food, drink, gum, etc. allowed pass the check point. It was just a strange thing to be in a holy place but seeing weapons at the gates. Once inside there were lots of armed police watching people pass through. While inside, our guide who is a Palestinian Christian talked with us about the systematic racism he faces on a daily basis just to get into the city to meet us and then show us around to these different sites.
This evening we spoke with a Palestinian Muslim who is a professor here and it was facinating the parallels between the BLM movement at home and what the Palestinian people are experiencing here under Israeli occupation. He was a very peaceful man and explained some Muslim ideas to us but most importantly he pointed out that we all belong to the human race and religion, when practiced correctly, honors the human dignity in all of us.
I am finding that after being here for a week I am missing home, family and friends. I still have more to see and learn while here but I do appreciate the prayers and emails I've received. I look forward to sharing my experiences more when I get home.
Blessings from Jerusalem,