Beginning of the Holy Week here in Jerusalem, I knew that the rest of our trip would be vastly different. Today began Pesach or the Passover for the Jews. Sunday, Palm Sunday, began the Holy Week for Catholics and Christians around the world. We began today by walking in the feet of Jesus by taking the Via Dolorosa. From the East Gate of the Temple Mount through the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The path through the city has now been made part of the markets. Cars nearly hit walkers. It was hardly the walk I would have imagined Christ walking in his final hours. But then I realized something to put into my limited perspective. In the times of Christ, the streets would have been filled with some form of a market, sheep, donkeys, camels, children, beggars…chaos and noise. Jesus walking through the streets carrying a cross would have been an example to the people to not rebel against Rome or the Pharisees. Disrespect. Disgrace. Shame. Humilation. Jesus felt all.
But then our walk of the Via Dolorosa ended at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Aggravation. Irriation. Annoyance. Frustration. I felt these things. This church decorated with gold, candles, mosaics, paintings, and crowds of people were beyond ridiculous. This church, to many, stands on the exact location of the burial and resurrection site of Christ. One could hardly tell. All I could see were the crowds pushing one another. Angry Christians. Rude Christians. Pushing their way to kiss a rock that they think Jesus was anointed on. It is very hard for me to believe that this church stands on the site of the world’s greatest darkness…and victory. I feel there is more to it than what I saw. Yet though I think there is more, I do not feel the necessity for the complexity I saw in this church.
We continued on our day, trying to think of Christ through the decorated Lord. The rest of the day was more fun and cultural then orthodox. We walked 5 miles to our tour guide’s house. Yes 5 miles. But honestly it was well worth it. Eli, our tour guide, hosted us for a somewhat touristic Passover sader. Eli and his family made some of the traditional foods for our sader, while we lounged in a triclinium design. It was a lot of fun to learn and experience a Jewish sader. Of course at the end of the ceremony we had to walk the 5 miles back to our guesthouse. The walking was well worth it. Tonight, however, we got to experience a Jewish sader that recognizes Christ as the Messiah. I loved it! Today was an incredible day!