JERUSALEM, with its history of war and peace, love and hate, destruction and resurrection, is one of the most intriguing cities in the world. Its enthralling story dates back to the time before Jesus but for a non-historian like me, its significance lies in the fact that Jerusalem was where Jesus preached and performed miracles, was condemned and crucified, died and was buried, and then resurrected and ascended into heaven.
The Jerusalem interlude during our eight-day trip to the Holy Land touched me the most. It was an experience I will long remember. We started out at Mount of Olives where Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection. From our perch in front of the Chapel of Dominus Flevit (the place where Jesus wept for Jerusalem), we could see a stirring view of the ancient and modern Jerusalem veiled by the light of a setting sun. Then there was the nearby Garden of Gethsemane where age-old olive trees with gnarled trunks (said to be the silent witnesses of Jesus’ agony in the garden) still stand.
There were days during our pilgrimage when we felt melancholic and pensive. This feeling came intensely so as we re-traced the footsteps of Jesus on his way to Calvary from the Ecce Homo where Pontius Pilate washed his hands.
It was at the Flagellation site that we began taking turns carrying the cross, four of us at a time, passing through the different stations of the cross until we reached the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. There was a crowd lining up to go to the altar of the crucifixion.
We couldn’t help but stare intently at the image of the crucified Christ pondering on the happenings on that Black Friday more than 2000 years ago. Then there was the annointing stone where the body of Jesus was prepared for burial which we kissed.
What moved us most was touching, kissing and kneeling before the cold tomb of Jesus inside the dimly-lit chamber of the Holy Sepulcher. It made us teary.MORE