Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In the Holy Land

Jerusalem is a city where faith dominates, and regardless of one’s own personal beliefs, it’s impossible to visit Old Jerusalem without being impressed by the devotion of pilgrims.

Today is a Shavuot, a holy day for Jews. The Western Wall has been filled with the devout, men in shiny coats and round fur hats, women in modest dress covering hair, shoulders, legs. Their written prayers are tucked into niches between the stones of the wall – all that remains of the great temple of Herod.

In the Upper Room – the room where Jesus and his disciples held the Last Supper – the devout meditate against marble pillers and the cold hard floor.

In the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, the faithful wait as much as two hours to touch the place that is said to be the tomb of Christ.

“We believe this is the right place,’’ said Paul Hewerdine, an American who has lived in Israel for a half-dozen years and works as a Catholic lay minister. “God is everywhere, but this is special, and He honors the effort to come here. It is a special way to honor God.’’


- Top, a Jewish man heads toward the Western Wall in Old Jerusalem
- Above, a pilgram prays a the tomb of Jesus at the Church of the Holy Sepulcre


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