Arriving in Jerusalem has been one of the most precious travel experiences of my life.
|Sue at the tower of David|
This is a holy place for Jews, Muslims and in a slightly different way for Christians also. As such it has been a focus of conflict for centuries, often changing hands, often violently. It also struck me, by contrast, that at various times Jews, Muslims, and Christians have been able to live here together peacefully. That is the challenge Jerusalem faces today.
We have been struck by the compact nature of Jerusalem, and indeed Israel as a whole. It was a short drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and a short walk from our hotel to the Old City. In the classic photo below, you can see the short distance from David's tower to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, and then beyond to the Mount of Olives. Again this raises the ever present and complex issue of Jews, Muslims and Christians coexisting.
|The view over the Old City, Dome of the Rock to Mt of Olives|
We were able to join in with two different church services. A small Baptist church in the morning, and the Anglican service in the evening. Both sought to be aware of the complex religious context and the worship and prayers reflected that. Reading a Psalm about Jerusalem and praying for the peace of Jerusalem have never been so poignant for me. Christ Church in particular sought to appreciate their Jewish roots in a liturgical and historical context. Both were conscious of the call to show God's love to everyone, including people of other faiths.
|The Western Wall at night with Dome of Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque above.|
|Jews praying at the Western Wall|
Walking back to our hotel led us through little streets lined with shops, closing for the day now, but where people made their living.
We look forward to learning more about this fascinating place when the formal tour gets underway tomorrow.