Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Repent later.

Last night I watched the movie, Kingdom of Heaven, with Orlando Bloom playing a knight/blacksmith on his journey to forgiveness to Jerusalem.   While the movie isn’t 100% historically accurate, it does have some redeeming moments. At the very end of the movie, though, comes my favorite line made by a bishop during the siege of Jerusalem by the Muslims. It’s looking pretty desolate on the side of the crusaders, and the line is just…well….ummm… classic… Christianity.

“Convert to Islam, repent later”

And the thing was: he was serious.

It got me thinking about a lot of things: forgiveness, suffering, faith, times of trials, and well, just Christianity in general.

Most of us will not know the faith it requires to stand up for what we believe in during times of life or death.  Many of us do not know persecution in a serious capacity.  The majority of us will probably not have to face being beheaded, killed by the sword, or set on fire for our beliefs.

But we do know the meaning of ‘grace’ and ‘forgiveness’….sometimes a little too well.  How many times have we compromised on the little things, knowing we would be forgiven?  How many times have we done what we knew was wrong, claiming the ‘grace’ of God after?  How many little things add up to become multiple things?

I can sit here and judge the statement this character made, claiming to say something like that, or to even go as far as doing it is just too much; or I can think about all the times I have repented later, after my own trial was over.  Is it any different?

Yes, Grace and Forgiveness are there for us, but we shouldn’t be in such a hurry to search for reasons to use them… I know I’m guilty of that.


Capturing Moments: Muslim Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem

There was just something about this little boy that captured me…

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Mediterranean Monday: Jewish Boy Band

As we were leaving the Old City in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday, we happened across these boys who were performing in the square outside of Jaffa Gate.  I’m telling you, they are only a record deal away from being the new Jewish Backstreet Boys! They even have choreographic dance moves….awesome!

(please excuse the shaking and moving around of the camera. I was in the back holding up my camera, trying to film blindly)

 


Church hoppin’

dscf1671There were no PEEPS or Cadbury Eggs for me this year. No Easter Egg Hunts, or baskets with that artificial green grass stuff.  I did have the privledge, though, to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb.  Every year they have a special sunrise service at the EMPTY tomb to celebrate Resurrection Sunday.  

There are two sights that claim to be sight of Jesus’ tomb, and personally I think this is the correct one.  (my own opinion, even though it is backed up with some pretty heavy facts).  Its the one place in Jerusalem that you will feel more at peace than any other, not to mention the pure beauty of the surrounding gardens.  

We had to get up at 4am (yes, that is waaaaay too early for this girl!) to get good seats as the service began at 6:30am. They did a great job!  The songs were great, the sermon was wonderful, and the setting was a perfect as you can get for Easter….the EMPTY tomb site of Jesus!

After that, we strolled on through the Old City and ventured to the Christ Church, which is an Anglican church.  This service began at 9:30 and went for a whopping 2 hours!  Nothing against the Anglican’s, but its just not really my cup of tea.

After a long day of walking, traveling, church hoppin and traffic I am finally back home in TA!  What a day!!! I need a nap 🙂


Good Friday In Jerusalem

What would have Jesus’ walk down the Via Dolorosa looked like if cameras and video’s were around 2000 years ago???

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or maybe this????

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I spent all day in the Old City, mostly on the Via Dolorosa, where thousands came to walk the steps that Jesus walked on crucifixion day.  It was absolutely crazy!  You could hear just about every language being spoken, with people from all over the world.  People carrying crosses, people singing songs, people crying, and in the end Jesus himself making the long haul, once again.  

I don’t want to be cynical, but it was more like Santa Clause at the end of a parade. It was completely commercialized with ‘paporatzi’ everywhere.  I found myself staying behind the crowd in order to just take in the atmosphere and reflect on the moment personally.  Making the trek up the Via Dolorosa on Good Friday is something that I’m so glad I did.  I didn’t need all the extra hoop-la to put myself in HIS shoes.  For me, it was enough to just be there on this day and know why HE did it.  To know that it was for YOU and ME that HE suffered.  For US all!

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Mediterranean Monday: Praying toward Jerusalem

dscf0834There is one thing that all Orthodox Jews have in common, no matter where they live in the word…..they pray facing Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter if its east from the US or south from Russia, it is always facing toward Jerusalem.  

I remember my first encounter with this was in the airport on my way to Israel, the first time.  The flight was soon after the 3rd prayer call (yes, there are 3 times a day for prayer), and all the Orthodox men were in one area, reading from their prayer books and facing……yep, EAST!  At the time I had no idea what that was about, but now I do.  

Even though there is currently no temple in Jerusalem (it was destroyed the 2nd time by the Roman Empire), a prayer for the construction of the 3rd temple is part of the daily prayers.  The temple acts as a figurative dwelling of God’s presence in the physical world, and since there is no physical temple, they pray toward the direction it was/will be. Those already in Jerusalem pray facing the Temple Mount.

What is also interesting is that all Bet Knesset’s (synagogues) also face toward Jerusalem.  The bet knesset is a type of substitute temple, which reminds the Jewish people of the incompleteness resulting in the destruction of The Temple. In each Bet Knesset there is an ark, with the Torah inside.  Even the ark must be situated in the direction of Jerusalem.

I could go on with more detailed information, but I think you got the jist of it.  One thing is for sure….the Orthodox better be good with directions!


Inside The Hamas

This morning the war took another dramatic turn, as terrorists from Lebanon have joined in against Israel.  Now we have rockets coming at us from the south (Hamas) and the north (possibly Hizbullah).  Yet, I am still amazed at the response protesters are showing against Israel! Fox News recently reported an inside look into the Hamas organization, with a young man who was the son of one of the founders of Hamas.  He was to be the next in command of Hamas, until he had a life-changing experience.  

What he says about Hamas is incredible; I wish everyone could see this video.  Here is part 1 of 6.  I strongly encourage you to just take some time to watch the whole thing. Its an extremely important look into this war.  This war might be physically happening in the Middle East, but if you think it doesn’t affect you living elsewhere….think again!  

If you want to watch the rest of the segments, after Part 1 is finished, click on the Part 2 thumbnail.

 


Yad Vashem

Today I took the bus to Jerusalem to spend the day touring Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum located on the Mount of Remembrance.  It is the memorial of ALL memorials to see; its absolutely incredible!  We opted to invest in the 20 shekel headsets, which explain each exhibit you come to and more.  I learned so much about the stories behind the story and personal struggles from videos and pictures. The museum is set in stages and time frames from the very beginning to the present day.  I wish I could show the magnitude of impact this place has, but no photos or videos are allowed to be taken inside the museum. 

Many stations along the way had videos playing of testimonies from survivors who lived through that particular moment, looking back and explaining details that go along with the exhibits.  They had artifacts, pictures, monuments, and even a re-created street of what one of the ghettos was like.  They had imported the exact street lights, cobblestone paths, wagons, and railroad tracks from the ghetto itself. It was mind-blowing.

My most memorable moment though, was when an older lady was being wheeled around the museum by a younger lady.  She was crying at many of the stations, explaining various points of presentations to her helper.  I found out that she was one of the survivors and the pictures were of people she actually knew and loved.  I felt overwhelmed!

I urge anyone who has the chance to visit Jerusalem to take half a day and go to Yad Vashem, even if you aren’t Jewish or have any relations to anyone in the Holocaust.  Its a huge part of our history and an important one in making sure we don’t ever repeat this horrid act of hatred again.  

 

Since we couldn

Since we couldn't take pics inside, we took one outside before we went in


Jerusalem pics

I just spent 2 days in Jerusalem, and I feel like I have soooo much to say, but I can’t wrap it around any tangible words.  Sometimes words just aren’t enough.  I leave you with some pics until I can manage to take what I have in my head and put it down onto paper….. (All my pics can be seen on my Facebook page)

The Old City

The Old City

The Western Wall

The Western Wall

In the Christian Quarters w/in the Old City

In the Christian Quarters w/in the Old City

A Traditional Jewish family having a snack

A Traditional Jewish family having a snack

The market inside the Muslim Quarters

The market inside the Muslim Quarters

Going up the stairs from a tomb under the church

Going up the stairs from a tomb under the church

My friend and guide from Jordan, Ibrhaim at the Damascus Gate

My friend and guide from Jordan, Ibrhaim at the Damascus Gate

The Women's side of the Wall

The Women's side of the Wall

A Jewish lady comes to the wall for daily prayers

A Jewish lady comes to the wall for daily prayers

The Israel flag flying proudly at the Wall

The Israel flag flying proudly at the Wall

 


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