Jerusalem – beyond the walls

Hi folks

Just finished dinner after another full day. It’s amazing how much we covered.

More and more I’m being confronted with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It would be good to hear a speaker from the Jewish perspective on things, but at this early stage it’s not hard showing sympathy and support for the Palestinian people. Of course I’m not blind to how complex this whole thing is.

Clearly the differences in standards of living are stark and when it comes to unemployment, consider this stat:
* 6% in Israel
* > 40% in Palestine

Enough reflection for now.

Sightseeing for the day began with a 6 am visit again to the Church of the Nativity – built on the site where Jesus is believed to have been born. In the Church of St Catherine (or something like that) we descended many narrow stairs to a series of caves – Jesus quite possibly was born in one of these. I iPhone- videod Dale presenting a staff devotions for her school. Thatbwas a rather unique experience. After breakfast – off to the Shepherds Fields, including two caves on the site – perhaps of the kind those shepherds were in long ago when angels told out the great news of Jesus’ birth.

From there we traveled – still in Bethlehem – to Bethlehem Bible College, a college with a particular ministry with refugees and those on the West Bank. A young staff member gave an impassioned talk to us about some realities of being Palestinian.

Long story, but we spent way too much time then at the Cremisan Winery – somehow associated with the Salesian order of the Catholic church. Even so, it had the most beautiful of grounds – and very green and peaceful.

Afternoon, and we were taken to a wonderful array of Biblical places:

* The Mount of Olives – great view of the Old walled city of Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock mosque especially striking
* the walk down a long and sometimes steep hillside from the Mount, a walk according to tradition travelled by Jesus that first Palm Sunday
* time spent reflecting at the Garden of Gethsemane and adjacent Church of All Nations
* visiting Mount Zion and spots according to tradition where King David was entombed AND Jesus and disciples shared the Last Supper in the Upper Room

Tomorrow will be a day spent mostly within the walled old city of Jerusalem. That will be special too.

(PS It’s been great receiving comments from folk. Thanks)


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