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The Journal of Shena M. Williams

Personal Reflections:
The Palestine of Jesus, St. George's College
The pilgrim inscription, DOMINE IVIMUS, "Lord, we are here" (3rd - 4th century A.D.) found under the Church of the Resurrection was echoed in 2009 as we entered Jerusalem and saw the walls of the Old City. I was amazed at the harshness of the land, the unrelenting dryness and the heat. There was, of course, reprieve from the heat in the early mornings and evenings; these times were almost chilly by our standards.

I welcomed the celebration of the Eucharist and enjoyed the soothing, melodious blending of the different voices of our group of pilgrims. We were given quiet time for reflections after each mass which we celebrated in churches and chapels on mountains, by lakes and in the desert, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. At these times I was inspired and awed by the knowledge of those who trod the same steps. Now I appreciate silence, not only as a time to pray and to meditate, but it was also a time to be refreshed. "When the Quran is recited, listen carefully to it in silence." (Sura 9:7)

Renewal of Baptisimal Promises at the River Jordan, floating in the Dead Sea, sailing across the Galilean Lake with the Golan Heights in the background, walking in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross), Hasidic Jews at the Western Wall, Shopping in the Old City and at Abraham's Gift shop and Bazaar are experiences that I will treasure, always. Readings from the Bible now take on added depth and historical perspectives.

"And when he saw the city he wept over it." (Luke 19:41). Everywhere in Jerusalem is the quest for peace: on souvenir items; intercession at all masses; and, a sign at the Dead Sea (GO IN PEACE). Still, the physical evidences - the Separation Barrier, young, armed paratroopers in the Old City and the many sercurity checkpoints - speak otherwise. I will continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem so that it will again be the Centre of the Christian World and not the "Centre of Nowhere" as expressed by a jaded, war weary, young Israeli.

Thanks to the Dean and Mrs. Adderley for affording me the opportunity to participate and Mrs. Sandra Collie for her diligent and conscientious administrative duties.

from Shena M. Williams

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