day two

May 2, 2012

We left the hotel at 8 this morning for the Church of the Pater Noster; the place where pilgrims remember the disciples request of Jesus: Lord, teach us to pray.  

Jesus responded by teaching them the prayer that has united, inspired and challenged believers daily since that day on this place.

Around the walls of the Church and courtyard this prayer of Jesus is inscribed. We prayed (below) at the place where the prayer is in the Maori language.

Piet & Carla praying in Dutch
This blog records only a couple of key moments of each day. So much happens.  There are moments and events that are life changing. Moments of insight and divine encouragement break through in different ways for each of us.

Often this happens in very ordinary happenings – like the moment we saw the camel

Or the friendly and persistant locals trying to make a living by selling souvenirs

Then there are the places and experiences that are significant for us all together. Like the visit to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (Peter & the cock-crow).

“I do not know the man”
Underneath this twentieth century church, built on the site of the house of Caiaphas the High Priest, is the ‘basement cave’ where Jesus almost certainly spent the night of his arrest.  Sr. Mary Boyes read Psalm 88, a prayer that most certainly would have been on the mind and heart of Jesus as he lay in the damp darkness awaiting his Good Friday.

We finished the day with a visit to the Cenacle.  While we know the room we were in today was built many hundreds of years after the Last Supper, This site is the most widely accepted piece of ground on which stood the ‘upper room’ where Jesus gathered with his disciples.  

In a moment of reflection here we took time to remember our own First Communion. This is important since as Christians we do not look on the Eucharist that Jesus celebrated simply as one nostalgically remembers an historical event.  Every time we take part in the Mass, and every time we receive the reality of Jesus in communion, an event that is everything of the first Eucharist happens for us in our present reality.

We then prayed together the prayer of the believer before coming forward to communion:

Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

Lord I am not worthy, that you should enter under my roof. But only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.

and before we left the Cenacle, a group photo 

All over this city and its surroundings are the marks of a history of conflict dating back several thousand years. Later this afternoon we passed the Zion Gate.

Notice the battle scars around this entrance to the old city. Many of the most noticable marks are made by bullets in the last century.
Even in the days when Jesus walked these hills, Jerusalem was a place of conflict and military presence. How odd of God to choose such a troublesome backwater of the Roman Empire to enter human history in Jesus.

This is perhaps the most powerful lesson of a pilgrimage to this place: God chooses the most unlikely times in human history, and the most difficult and burdensome moments in our lives to become real.  Too often our problem is that we keep thinking that we have to be somewhere else, or to get our lives in order before God can work with us.

The lesson of this place is that God enters human existence wherever there is need and desire, and in whoever desires and needs.

Looking towards the (gold) Dome of the Rock from the road above the Mount of Olives

1 Comment

  1. Loved the photos..but most especially enjoyed the thought provoking commentary, especially the last paragraph. Take care


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