Today was like having Holy Week in a day. We visited the Western Wall (or "Wailing Wall") of The Temple Mount. People pray there night and day, as some of the foundation stones of the 2nd Temple are exposed. Some are there wailing over the destruction of the first two temples. Others are there praying for other matters. It's a tradition to write your prayers on a small slip of paper and place it in the cracks between the huge foundation boulders.
While there, we prayed for you today. We're grateful for your prayers.
From there we went to the Temple Mount, which is the location of the Al Aqsa Mosque, the 3rd most important holy site in Islam. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during his Night Journey. Nearby is the Dome of the Rock, a structure that will turn 1000 years old in 2023, making it one of the oldest examples of Muslim architecture.
Jewish tradition holds that the Temple Mount was also the location where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac (Genesis 22).
From there we visited St. Anne's Church (traditional site of Jesus' mother Mary's birth and home place of her parents Anne and Joachim). St. Anne's has amazing acoustics and is a well-preserved Crusader Church. It's very close to the pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a sick man (John 5:2-9).
It is also near the starting point for the traditional Via Dolorosa. We reflected on Jesus' journey to the cross as we made our way through the crowded streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, reading and reflecting at different stations of the cross. The conclusion of the Via Dolorosa is inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is built atop the site of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. Despite the crowds of pilgrims, to ponder his love and mercy in that location is overwhelming. Ponder with us from where you are.