14 friends and 2 teachers from school and I am on a pilgrimage in Israel learning about the land’s modern and ancient history and visiting the places. I will try to update with a post every day.
*skipping a few days, will be back for them
Old Jerusalem and Yad Vashem
We celebrated Mass in the Lutheran Evangelical Church in the Old city. Present were, apart from the regular congregation there were groups from Singapore, Holland, Portkland / Oregon, Canada, Texas and Australia, and of course us from Sweden. It was very similar to the worships my mom and I often watch on youtube from Duke Chapel in Durham, NC, so I was happy to be there. There was no <proper> confession though, as is ufortunately often the case in Sweden (but not in Duke). I feel something is missing if one comes to the table without a proper confession first… The sermon was similar to the ones in Duke (read <great>). The pastor spoke about how we want to see Jesus, especiallt coming as pilgrims to the Holy Land, but our vision is too clouded by our endorsment of a system that stands in oposition to the cross, so we can’t see Him. We see only shops, evil, etc… distracted by ordinary life. But the Good News of the gospel is in addition to being Good News also judgement. Judgement for a world that values exess and greed and selfishness. What needs to die on the cross is our endorsment of the system. The system of violence, of revenge, of unforgiveness. A system that values property over people. Let it go, fall to the ground, be buried in a tomb and let us this coming easter resurrect with Christ as new…
A guide (head of the local Kyrkorad) took us to the Western wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a introduction to the wall we were given time to approach the wall. I usually take of my shoes when I walk in holy places (I would have liked to walk barefoot in the entire Old City, had it been in India I would have, but now I take of my shoes in the churches…) and as I stood there debatingh with myself wether I should do it I realised I felt I had no right to go near the wall. This is the holy prayerplace of the Jews. I am all but antisemitic, but I feel my thoughts on judaism is a bit too close to replacement theology for me to pray on their holy place. I definately respect their right to practice their religion (as I do all religions that doesnt harm anyone) but to pray there didnt feel right, though fridays synagogueservice was nice. I think I could pray in a mosque (we visited one yesterday in Betlehem, coming soon). I have no solution for it, just some thoughts.
We climbed stairs down to a water reservoir, where Ceasar Constantins mother Helen is said to have found the Jesus cross and nails. It was a bit scary, very wet, but also very special.
A quick visit inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre > we all agreed we neeeded hours in there! We will go there early in the morning one day soon.
After lunch we went to Yad Vashem, a holocaust museum and memorial. We had a great Swedish guide and spent a few hours in there. I felt terrible seeing clothes, shoes and belongings of murdered people showcased. I was most affected though by the Childrens memorial. A single candle lit in a totally dark room of mirrors making thousands if not millions of lights. 1,5 million children were murdered.
We leave the museum with many questions. Why is there evil in the world? Why does ordinary people do evil? Why do Israelis persecute palestinians when they know what persecution is? Why do victims victimize others? What is the european shame and how does it affect us? Is there a shame in Sweden who didnt get involved much?
We end the day with prayer. I think we all have realised where we are and are very affected by the last days contrasts between Galilee and Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine, history and today, holiness and politics… a very powerful moment when we all spoke freely to God in prayers for reconcilliation, ending evil, knowing our place in all this and a prayer for understanding the things we dont…
Pics on the way still… sorry