Saturday, April 5, 2008
Happy Easter everyone! I know, I know, I missed it, but chronology doesn’t really bother me too much. When I got accepted to the program, Easter was one of the best events I looked forward to—it didn’t disappoint (although, I must admit I missed our family traditions quite a bit).
Let me begin with Palm Sunday, this is generally the starting point of our celebration at home anyway. We were scheduled to have class all morning, but after a bit of complaining and some professors sticking up for us we were able to shift some things around. There is a traditional celebration done here every Palm Sunday. The Christians begin on the Mount of Olives at
There were thousands gathered there. We bought palms and all marched together; it as a moving experience for me. Oh and just for your information, there is an unofficial competition with who can get the largest palm. I was pretty sure I had it all wrapped up, but there was at least one that was larger than mine. Still, second is pretty good.
For part of the time we were singing and dancing with some of the evangelicals from somewhere in
During the week we focused on a couple of other things in classes (not relating specifically to the life of Christ during that week). We did get to visit
This picture I found interesting just because of what it is. We visited a university in Bethlehem that is for the Palestinians. It was interesting to be able to interact with them. They had a panel discussion where we could ask them all sorts of questions. We did get in a little trouble because one of the people from my group called the shootings at the Jewish school an act of terrorism, thus inferring that they were terrorists. It was rather touchy. Anyway the picture is of a hole in the wall from some Israeli rockets launched at the university. They keep this hole there as a reminder. Really the whole situation is fascinating, but like I said, I really don't want to get too much into that.
The other great thing about going to
The rest of the week we were prepping to go
I have a couple pictures from the Garden Tomb. I hope they give you an idea of what it was like.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Everyone--I am going to be gone to Galilee (the site of so much biblical fishing) for the next ten days. I am unsure if there will be internet for me to use or not so chances are there will be no updates on my blog until I return. I know that this is severely disappointing to many of you, especially since you were all anticipating my account of Easter here. I am afraid that will have to wait. The combination of waiting for pictures to load on a slow internet connection and my lack of actual written material have hindered the publication of such a blog. I will give a better account when I return.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The below site is a the remains of a couple of Byzantine Churches dating back to the 5th Century. They were built over the supposed site of baptism of Jesus. The water originally flowed directly from the Jordan (from up to down in this picture) resulting in a font that was full of running water.
Ok, that was my gross over generalization of Jordan. I hope it gave you a flavor of what my trip was like. The people there in Jordan were really quite wonderful. They really didn't try and rip me off or anything--at least not a lot. Anyone who is willing to treat me like that is a friend in my book.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The security situation in Jerusalem appears to have improved greatly. They were expecting some sort of repercussions, but none came. Generally both sides exchange blows in order be the last one to hit the other. A Palestinian shop owner presented his theory of why there were none today. He said that an attack of this nature always happens around Easter. He believes that somehow the Jews were behind the attack in order to keep the Christian pilgrims from coming here. I wanted to ask him if he thought the U.S. government was behind the attack on 9/11, but we didn't have the time. So take that for what is worth.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I have decided to throw chronology out the window. Instead of trying to talk about what I have been up to these past few weeks, I will write instead about last night. It was a class field trip to the Western Wall. We are still in lock down mode here, so I am really glad we were still able to go.
So I am pretty sure that most of you have seen the Western Wall before, but the section we got to see was so much cooler than you normally see in pictures. The below picture is our the outside section that pretty much everyone has seen.
We went through what is called Kotel Tunnel. After the Jews left Jerusalem, the Muslims came and took over the Temple Mount to build the Dome of the Rock. When they did, they pretty much changed the entire landscape of the area. It use to be that a market street ran next the the wall. When the Muslims came, they raised their homes and built them right up against the wall. The basements were used as cisterns to store water. I am not entirely sure why this was done, but it was.
A few years back the Israelis began secretly excavating the site. Now bear in mind that there are Palestinian homes above them. They tunneled under all the homes from one side of the Temple Mount to the next. Then one day they just popped out the other side in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. This of course resulted in a lot of problems and bloodshed. Things are a little better now, but you still need to be escorted by Israeli soldiers from the Muslim Quarter back to the Jewish side.
The tunnel itself is amazing. There is one stone (shown below) that weighs approximately 600 tons. It is amazing that it is even there. Supposedly, even with our modern technology we cannot move a stone of that size.
There is also a really cool spot in the tunnel that is the closest point to where they believe the Holy Holies was. There is a small synagogue there. Below is a picture of that arch over that portion of the Western Wall.
So I have developed a terrible habit of touching everything here. I believe it comes from our history professor, Dr. Seely, who also has the same habit. Just the same it is great to feel like you have touched stones that people in the first century (or earlier) built, carved, or leaned against.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Anyway, I should have a couple of post up soon, but I just wanted to satisfy any curious people out there that may have been paying attention to the news.