Day Three - Evening Prayers, Shabbat and Christmas Eve

Today was another full day. We got to experience several key locations in the Old City. We walked along the Via Dolorosa, went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, prayed at the Western Wall, saw the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock, and visited the Garden Tomb. 
Mosaic of the Old City
Prayers of the People - the Western Wall
Candles lit by pilgrims at the tomb
Dome above tomb
Chapel of Flagellation

In the late afternoon as we departed the Western Wall and Temple Mount Jewish families were heading toward the wall to pray as the setting sun marked the beginning of their Sabbath. Simultaneously, the Call to Prayer was sounding all across the city beconning all Muslims to prepare for their evening prayers. Above our heads hung twinkling Christmas lights reminding all of the Orthodox Christians that today is the eve of the birth of the Christ Child. All the while, the marketplace continued to buzz with foot traffic and shop owners pleading the people to come into their stores. 

There was something absolutely beautiful about this scene. Three faiths have converged here. Three faiths call this place holy. Three faiths live life in the midst of one another. Yet somehow, the beauty of this moment gets lost in a political and inter religious maelstrom that leaves destruction and uncertainty in its path. 

There must be a way through this labarynthian via dolorosa, this tangled way of sorrow. It will not be easy or convenient. The way may be complicated and confusing. But the walk will indeed be worth it. 

Let us walk this way together.

There are many more pictures on my Facebook account if you want to take a look. It was truly an amazing day in a totally different way than yesterday but equally moving and transformative. 

Shabbat Shalom 
and may I say for my Orhodox brothers and sisters...
Merry Christmas! 


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