Up hill and down

Today began where the last sermon left off… The Lord’s Prayer. This was my first time in the church of the paternoster where the lords prayer adorns the walls in languages from all over the world. We spotted Scottish gaelic and Doric (a dialect of Scots).

My sermon the other week was about focusing on God as the Lord’s Prayer help us to do. It was an appropriate place to begin our exploration of the Holy Land.

We journeyed down the Mount of Olives, with its amazing view of the old city, to Dominus Flevit. We were met at the gate by a monk, sitting under a tree with a pipe and a pint of what looked very much like beer! He reminded me of friar tuck in Robin Hood!

The church commemorates the place where Jesus looked out over the city, and wept. It struck me that things haven’t changed much. A city of God which is divided equally by walls and belief. Today was Friday prayers and it’s still Ramadan so the Muslim Quarter was packed with people. The police were out in force but the rest of the city was quiet.

Gethsemane next and my favourite church, the church of all nations. For the first time the connection between the lord’s prayer and Jesus’ prayer in the garden struck me. Read them together and you’ll see what I mean.

Onwards to the tomb of Mary. Down lots of stairs into the dark of an Orthodox church. And the smell… Incense and candles.

From there we walked around outside the city walls to avoid the crowds to the dung gate and the western wall. The wall is as close as the Jews can get to where the Temple housing the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant once stood.

And that was our morning. More later but it’s time for bed. Off to the Holy Sepulchre at 6.30am.

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