Our day was focused on Jesus’ last week, beginning at the top of the Mount of Olives at the Pater Noster Church. This is the place overlooking Jerusalem where Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer. There are 166 ceramic tile plaques around the church and grounds with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, each in a different language of the world. Impressive, and a very powerful visual statement.
The trip down the Mount of Olives was moving, accented by bright sunshine and incredible views of Jerusalem. We came to the Dominus Flevit Church that commemorates Jesus’ weeping over the city, then to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. We saw several young people reading and studying their Bibles quietly at Gethsemane. There was a special quality to the spirit of that place that we won’t soon forget.
The bus carried us next to Mt. Zion. We saw the Hagia Sion Church and Dormitian Abbey, and we visited the “Upper Room.” This is the traditional place believed to be where the house stood in which Jesus and the disciples shared the last supper. The structure now there was built by the Crusaders, then converted into a mosque. It was still meaningful to gather in reflection on what that evening Passover meal must have been like.
Our last stop before a late lunch and a little shopping was Caiaphas’ house and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We saw the area where the high priest had his home, and the “dungeon” where Jesus may have been held during the night. All of this brought the Passion story from Scripture very much to life. It also showed us how many Jewish laws were broken in order to condemn the Jewish Messiah as well as how willing Jesus must have been to suffer as he did for us.
Tomorrow is our last day in the Holy Land. In addition to some more touring in Jerusalem, we’ll also celebrate communion in the garden tomb and walk the Via Dolorosa.