|As I reflect on the enlightening pilgrimage to Jerusalem I am constantly reminded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as this is the only way I believe peace will come to that city. What I had envisioned Jerusalem would be, proved to be quite different from what I experienced on the pilgrimage. Stories and songs learned as a child, like the traditional song ‘There Is a Green Hill Far Away’ proved to be a figment of the songwriter’s and my imagination. There was no ‘green hill’; in fact there is a debate about the site of Calvary as there are two places purporting to be Calvary.|
Throughout the pilgrimage I was constantly made aware of many contrasts a few of which I will mention. The first contrast I noted was that of the terrain which consists of mountains and valleys- ’As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about his people’ (Psalm 125:2). Although many of the mountains did not seem very high, I found them to be quite daunting when travelling on foot. Despite the difficulty I had in walking up those mountains, the breathtaking views they afforded made me appreciate the magnitude of God’s creation. They also provided beautiful settings to worship and commune with God.
The second contrast was the contrast of peace and war. It seems so ironic that the place where the ‘Prince of Peace’ was born is today in such turmoil; one country with two nations- Israel and Palestine. Constant reminders of this war are the soldiers patrolling the borders, the separation barriers and the stops at the many check points. I returned home with a renewed appreciation for the Bahamas and what it represents, and echo the call once again to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem’.
A final contrast which stood out was the one between the Old City and the new modern city which surrounds it. Upon entering one of the many gates to the Old City I was transported back in time to the historical city of Jesus’ time. The cobblestones which paved the narrow streets looked as if they could be from a bygone era. It was on those streets that we traced the footsteps of Christ during his passion, which proved to be an experience I will never forget.
This pilgrimage is one I will always remember and I encourage others to experience Jerusalem as we continue to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
from M. Bethel