Saturday, 2 March 2013
Setting our face towards Jerusalem
The sight of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives is stunning. The old walls, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, mosques and towers, spires and bazaars. The whole of life is there. Then along with us on the Way of Palm Sunday are tourist groups galore, all nationalities, revealed at the Paternoster Church as they pray the Lord's Prayer in their own language, gathered around the words displayed on the walls. To try and enter into the events which mark the beginning of Holy Week is hard, however murals in each of the churches help, as does reflecting on various points on the way - the olive branches at the start of the walk, the view of Jerusalem whilst thinking about how Christ must still weep over it, the olive grove in Gethsemane (the place of the olive press) which has stood there for hundreds of years. Personally I was encouraged by the determination of our group to make the most of the day, despite their own frailty. I was also struck by some of the worship going on around, and the words we too sang. The highlight of the day for me was however Bethany. We had the church to ourselves as we reflected upon priority and friendship. I was reminded of my own attempt to give up busyness for Lent and to spend time with God. The time to work and the time to rest, and the way that Jesus enjoyed friendship. We spent the rest of the day down by the Dead Sea. A new experience for some, and for those of us who had floated before, the chance of an ice cream and a rest in the sunshine. We are now in Jerusalem expectant as we enter into the final days of Holy Week, as a group and for ourselves.