|I am truly graterful to the Dean, Mrs. Adderley, my fellow pilgrims and my son, Cleveland Williams, for having afforded me the opportunity of visiting the Holy Land, as a student and pilgrim of St. George's College, Jerusalmen. The course, "Palestine of Jesus," apart from being well organized, provided me with:|
In reflecting upon our pilgrimage to Jerusalem, I cannot refrain from giving thanks to God. Like David in Psalm 122, I can truly say that, "Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together" with innumerable biblical and histroical sites, having three distinct faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
- In depth information on the life and ministry of Jesus in their historical background and settings.
- The opportunity to explore biblical sites and simultaneously compare them to their Bible narratives.
- An understanding of some of the existing issues between the Jews and the Arabs, both descendants of Abraham.
- An enrichment of my belief in Jesus Christ, hence my faith today is stronger.
The "gates of Jerusalem", mentioned in Psalm 122:2, "our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem", became prominent as we visited the old city of Jerusalem. Throughout history, Jerusalem had numerous gates due to the walls of the city having a larger boundary. Today, there are only nine remaining gates around the old city of Jerusalem.
As there are too many things to write about in this reflection, I wish to share my experience of the Transfiguration, the Upper Room and the Walking of the Via Dolorosa:
Sunday morning (July 26), after breakfast we departed for Mount Tabor...where Jesus took with him Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain and he was transfigured before them (Mark 9:2). In visiting the transfiguration site, I could not help but reflect on the significance of the appearance of Elias and Moses. Elias and Moses were old Testament prophets and their appearance with Jesus indicated to me that their work on earth was not completed and that Jesus came to fulfill their prophecies and work. I also connected immediately with what Peter said, "It is good Lord to be here, let us make three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elias and one for Jesus," for truly it was beautiful being on Mount Tabor.
The Upper Room
We visited the Cenacle on Mount Zion then the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Mark. Underneath this church is found the Upper Room the place where "the Last Supper" occurred. The church is managed by Sister Justina, who related a story of a Russian Pilgrim, who upon visiting the upper room thought she had seen a beautiful icon of Jesus, returned for the second time and requested what had happened to the magnificent icon she saw during her first visit. Sister Justina informed her that the Upper Room never had an icon, and she had seen an image of Jesus. As Sister Justina was telling me this story, I felt the Holy Spirit come upon me in that instant and I wept bitterly as I realized that God is truly real.
The Via Dolorosa - The Painful Street - The Way of the Cross
Participating in the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, was one of the highlights of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, as I walked the streets where Jesus walked. The way of the cross is nothing other than a very narrow street that was very rough and rocky two thousand years ago. As we journeyed along the Via Dolorosa, I could not help reflecting upon the suffering of our Lord, which made me ask, "Lord, you did all of this for me?"
I will always remember and cherish my visit to the Holy Land, as it has made a tremendous impact on my spiritual well being.
from Beverly Smith