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Showing posts from March 8, 2012

Jerusalem: City of David

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Just to the south of the Old City wall built by Turks is the City of David. Solomon built the temple, but David never built within the walls of the current Old City. It's a great descent from Mount Zion to the Pools of Siloam and along the way great history and biblical events. 
Our first stop was the Upper Room--outside we read a portion of John 17 where Jesus prays for us, our unity and our communion with Jesus and the Father. We were inspired by the six churches that cannot agree at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre--why can't we get the one thing Jesus prayed for us right? This is also the location of Pentecost for the disciples--recieving the Holy Spirit to empower them to live out what Jesus had called them to.
We entered David's Tomb where men entered to the right and women to the left, and watched men rock and pray, fervently crying out to God.
We walked Hezekiah's tunnel which was built from two ends and met up in the same location. So much has been excavated of…

Jerusalem: Jesus Lamb of God

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The view and descent from the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane and across the Kidron Valley is a highlight. The Dome of the Rock over the foundation of the Temple, the wall and iits gates. We stopped to sing The Lord’s Prayer in the Pater Noster church and in a cave where it’s believed Jesus met with the disciples to teach and rest when they were on the Mount of Olives. The Jewish cemeteries on one side and the Muslim cemetery on either sides of the valley, with limestone coffin like structures over the burial—nothing inside because the bodies are in the ground, just a monument for loved ones to come and place a rock or two in memory. But the tombs created a sense that this valley is a valley of death. It’s steep, many battles were fought to enter and then sack Jerusalem, and of course this is the place, below both cemeteries and olive groves and churches, where Jesus was arrested while praying with Peter, James and John.  Gethsemane means “olive press” and named such because there used …

Bethlehem

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We got an earlier wake up call at 6am and left the hotel at 7:15am to get across the checkpoint before 8am. We were early and got into the Church of the Nativity before other tour groups arrived. No wait, no lines, we just walked up to the front of the church, walked down into the manger and then stood in the Nave all alone looking at the original Byzantine mosaic floors. 

The church is run by three denominations (which is a theme around some of the churches): Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic. The icons, candles, incense and procession all add to the mystery of what happened here 2000 years ago. Someone said, "Something special happened here..." 

The natural light streaming into the church created a "star of Bethlehem " effect from two different angles. Awesome! The embossing over the door to the manger is the tree of life. 

To enter the church there is a short door. Everyone entering must "humble themselves" by stooping down. It's a …