Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday in the Old City of Jerusalem

 So it's my first Sunday back in Jerusalem. A bunch of students decided to go to church at Christ Church, this oldest protestant church in the Old City (1849),which is near the Jaffa Gate, so I went with them.  It's an Anglican church, that is fairly contemporary in their service. This is the inside of Christ Church.
 This stained glass window in the church was worth the trip. Here we have an olive tree with a few branches broken off. It reminded of the scripture in Romans 11:17 "...some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and how share in the nourishing sap from the olive root..."   Thank you, Lord that I have been grafted in.

There's a Hebrew inscription on the bottom. which is from Romans 11:29-31 "...for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you."  "They, too" refers to the Jews. This olive tree represents Jews (and appears like a menorah) and Christians (also appears as a cross) in the same tree. This is an amazing piece of stained glass artwork, and one that reminds me of God's incredible mercy.
 A sign just outside of Christ Church. From Psalms 122 in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Here I am sitting in the midst of a group of students inside a shop in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Yup, they're mostly in their 20's, and I'm being mother hen:) We walked here after church, and I introduced them all to the shopkeeper. Many of the stores in the Christian Quarter are closed on Sunday, but this one is open for business.
 I know this is a really strange picture, but I was walking along the street in the Christian Quarter, and saw this gold substance that appeared to be spilled on the ground, like gold paint or something. Of course it reminded me of the streets of gold that one day I will walk on in the New Jerusalem:) Ok, maybe you think that's a stretch, but that's honestly what I thought of when I saw this!!  (When you are in Jerusalem, you tend to see things and think things differently)
 It's very unusual to see empty streets in Jerusalem, which usually are teeming with people, tourists, and activity. But it is Sunday, and much of the Christian Quarter is quiet. Just as on Shabbat (Fri pm-Sat) all the shops close down in the Jewish Quarter.
 A scene near the Jaffa Gate, one of the largest and main gates into the city. A street vendor selling fresh bread.
 Also at the Jaffa Gate area, a couple orthodox Jews in the foreground.
 Now I'm walking in the Jewish Quarter along one of the streets, going to the Western Wall.
 I love this view. You can, of course, see the Dome of the Rock. This wooden bridge is what you cross to go up to the Temple Mount, which is only open at certain times.  Just below the bridge and to the left of it is the Western Wall, where Jews and Pilgrims come from all over the world to pray, their most holy site.
 Standing in the same place where I snapped the pic above of the Dome of the Rock, next to me was this ultra-orthodox Jewish man. He was holding a bowl and begging for alms as people pass by. Many of them do this, as they spend their lives studying Torah, and not earning a living.
 Also in the Jewish Quarter is the Cardo, the ancient main street and market area. These are columns from the main street of Jerusalem in the early first century. They are way down below what is current street level, because as time goes on and civilizations and debri come and go, the streets get much higher.
 Here's a mural depicting what the Cardo may have looked like with all the market places, people and activity.
 Three little Jewish children playing in the Jewish Quarter.
 Some IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers stopping at one of the little shops to buy some refreshments.
 A pic I snapped of the Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion as the evening setting sun was beginning to shine on it.
 Leaving the Jaffa Gate, I turned around to snap this pic.
 Walking down the hill from the Jaffa Gate, to head back to school
 Passing by the outside of the walls of the Old City.
 Here's the walls...if you look close you can see the moon just above it.
 Walking down the street, at the end of this road is JUC, my school. This way has become VERY familiar to me, like walking home.
And here's my gate. We all have a key to get in, and have to sign in and out as we come and go so they know approx. where we are at all times.  Tomorrow (Monday) school begins, and I AM READY!!

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