Early rise

As I mentioned yesterday we were up early today for a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the church built over the reputed site of Jesus crucifixion and burial.

Jerusalem is beautiful at daybreak. It is quiet and still, bathed in golden light and the sun creeps above the tops of the buildings.

We made our way through the streets, shops still closed, to the huge church which lies at the centre of the world, at least it did if you made maps centuries ago!

The first time I came here I didn’t like it. Everything is covered in alters and gold and it’s just a bit much for me. But I feel drawn to it. I cant explain why but I know I’m not the only one.

This time I did wait for my 2 seconds in the strange building which houses a marker which is somewhere above the tomb Jesus was laid in. And I’m glad I did.

You see last night we heard from our friends Khalil and Eliane about the amazing work they do with Kids4Hope and Youth4Hope. They talked about a loving faith, a faith which they embody.

For me the death of Christ is hugely significant but his resurrection is much more important. Christianity is about life triumphing over death so a tomb isn’t where that kind of faith resides for me.

Later in the morning we walked part of the Via Dolorosa. The stunning church of the flagellation with it’s crown of thorn lights and stunning stained glass is beautiful but it tells a tale of how brutal we can be.

We had lunch at Papa Andreus looking over the city from the roof.

Now we’re going to hear about the living. Some of the young people from Youth4Hope are coming to meet with our group to talk about what life is like here for the 1.5% of the population who are Christian. It will be good to see old friends and watch new friendships be made.