March 12, Part 1
Our pilgrimage is named “The Footsteps of Jesus” so one might be surprised that we would visit its two main feature, the Al-Asqa mosque and Dome of the Rock, the third most holy site in Islam. However, it sits on the site which was Solomon’s Temple, as described in 2 Chronicles 3:1: “And Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in the mount of Amoria, where the Lord appeared to his father David, in the place which David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
That Temple was destroyed by the Babolnians in 7th Century BC. Later rebuilt and functional in Jesus’ day, (and where he turned over the tables in John 2), the “second temple” was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. As Islam began and grew in the 7th Century, this spot in Jerusalem (then unused or used as a trash heap) was claimed by Muslims–who connect to Abraham, David, and Jesus as prophets and holy men.
As we explore the current spiritual meaning for Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Holy Land, a visit here was not only a must, but we also had ‘back stage passes’ through our program at St. George College. This pilgrimage site was an honor and privilege to visit– and a way for us to experience how these world religions can coexist and have respect for on another. As our guide said, “No respect, no peace.”
The Dome of the Rock (has a gold dome). It is a shrine, not a mosque, enclosing the rock.
Inside the Dome of the Rock–with shoes off, women in long skirts and head scarfs–we got to see what many can’t see first hand.
– the holy Rock itself…
– under the Holy rock…a cave
Our next insider look took us across the complex to the Al-Asqa Mosque.
– now that’s a pulpit!
Once outside, we had time to reflect…
– a view of the Dome and the mosque on the platform of the Old Temple
– above and below: a view to the Mt. Of Olives from the temple platform. We will be there ourselves later today.