Our Last Day

The Road to Emmaus

Seven miles outside Jerusalem lies the city of Emmaus, to which two disciples were in route the night of the Resurrection. They were in route and in doubt of all they heard. Jesus came and made himself known in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:13-35)

This place and this story from Luke is why ‘the breaking of the bread’ is so important and so ritualized on a Sunday morning. No Footsteps of Jesus pilgrimage could be without it. Likewise, it was the beat spot for us to break bread together for our last Eucharist. Don’t forget the great singing in this reverberating Crusader church!

Below…some art, inside and out of the Church.

Back at the College, we gathered for a graduation of sorts–receiving certificates and hearing from Andrew one last time.


March 13, Part 2

With the second half of the day left for city wanderings, we got to visit new places or revisit former places.

  • Sister Justinea at the Syriac site of the Last Supper and upper room

  • Photo from the ramparts

  • Coffee and Juice break!

  • Zalitimos Bakery in the Old City. In the family for 200 years!

The Way of the Cross

March 13, Part 1

Having walked down the Mount of Olives to Gethsamane, we then traced what comes next, what we often call the Stations of the Cross or the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrow: Jesus last steps from arrest to tomb. At each station on the actual Jerusalem road, filled with normal pedestrian traffic and commerce, we read lessons, and took turns carting the Cross.

  • Yes, those are soldiers in the back ground

  • Other pilgrims from other countries along the way

  • This steeple in the background is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (holy tomb) also know as the Church of the Resurrection. On its roof (below) and over the Rock of Calvary, we remember Jesus nailed to the Cross and Jesus dying.

  • Then down from the roof to go inside…

…to the place of Crucifixion…

…And to the tomb of burial (background edifice or edicule)…

…and then we wait for 90 mins in line to go inside to the shelf where he was laid…and where he was risen.

… Doreen getting a peek inside before going in herself.

These actual tombs below may have belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, who gave a tomb for Jesus.

Our full group on the stairs outside the Church after the Stations.

The Mount of Olives

March 12, part 3

From the Mount of Olives, Jesus began what we call his Palm Sunday procession. We made a similar procession and found it is really down, down, and down… Midway down stands a church shaped like a teardrop…to mark as best we can where Jesus himself wept over Jerusalem: (Matthew 23:37-39)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

– the Dome and the former temple mount as seen from half way down the Mount of Olives.

At the base of the Mount of Olives lies a garden of Olives, not exactly Gethsamane, but one we could enter for our own quiet prayers.


March 12, Part 2

After a great lunch at the Ecce Homo Guest House and rooftop views…

…we arrived at the remails of Pool of Bethsada, which is right outside the gates to the Noble Sanctuary — the former Temple mount). Here Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, a crippled man who could not get to the Pool (John 5:1-15).

…after which we went into St. Anne’s Church (Anne being the mother of Mary) to sing and pray.

The Noble Sanctuary

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.

Nazareth — Basilica of the Annunciation

March 11, Part 2

In this beautiful church, we found many works of art, and we found the church a work art itself. All of this beauty means to show forth the day that Mary said YES to the Angel Gabriel, who announced she would bear God’s Son.

First we gathered in the courtyard for Doreen to read the lesson from Luke.

The cave in the pictures below is Mary’s home on that day, a cave in the area of Nazareth, in which there lives 20-30 families. We lined up to see more closely and to pray.

The art upstairs and in the courtyard: many depictions of the Annunciation from around the world.

  • USA version of the Annunication

And then down the road back to Jerusalem…by bus though!