For many years now I have visited this place through my imagination and the stories in the Bible. I have heard the song of joy at the birth of Jesus In such poverty. I have watched his mother Mary and Joseph bring him to the Temple as a small child. I have heard the words spoken to his mother telling her that he was special and that she would suffer. I have heard him asking very deep questions at the age of twelve. I have watched him making furniture with Joseph. Then I have seen him leave home to be, “about his father’s business”.
I have imagined Jesus walking through this hilly and barren land. I have sat at his feet and listened to his teachings. I have followed Him around from the day he and his disciples attended a wedding in Cana of Galillee and changed the water into wine to save a bride and groom from embarrassement.
I have watched him loving little children and allowing them to come close to him, when his followers tried to send them away. I have sat at table when he blessed and transformed the substance of bread and wine into his own being.
I have felt sadness when he was struggling in the Garden of Gethsamene and like me and all people he wanted to escape the pain. But he found strength in God’s love and desire that we all find our way back to our true selves and he allowed what suffering was to come that very night. I was able to recognize myself in the betrayal of some of his closest friends through fear and greed. I watched his painful journey from torture to the moment of his surrender of all his suffering to his Father in Heaven.
Best of all I was able to feel joy when he returned to his friends after he returned from the dead in his transformed form.
But for me going to Jerusalem was only a dream. That is, until a friend gave me the most wonderful gift of a trip to Jerusalem. I have just returned from the most memorable experience of walking in the footsteps of my beloved friend Jesus. Yes the air in Jerusalem is full of the energy of Jesus presence and many other great people who were like us in so many ways.
I am not surprised Israeli people consider themselves to be special. And indeed we are all special because we have been shown in a radical way the power of Love. This means we can recognize the specialness of every person.
When I walked from the mountain of Olivet where Jesus is said to have ascended to his heavenly Father to the Old City I could feel Jesus’ energy very strongly and many of his words came back to me. “Jerusalem Jerusalem, I would gather you as a hen gathers her chicks, and you would not”. The powerful emotions I experienced as I followed the path that Jesus walked to his death through the Kidron valley and through the Via Dolorosa in the Old City were a surprise. But I did not want to tap them away because through them I felt very close to my beloved Friend.
There were many other wonderful experiences in this week, among the most memorable was a visit to the Museum of Psalms. There I was taken into the transcendent expression of the human experience portrayed in paint and brilliant colour. I am in awe at the ability of people to express the inexpressible and allow other people to enter their vision.
I am so grateful to my dear friend and to her family for their love and hospitality to me in what was one of the most memorable occasions of my life.