Day 2: It’s a Matter of Faith

Posted on Feb 19, 2017

A Day of Surprises

Abrahamic Reunion Israel Jesus cross location

The very spot where Jesus’ cross stood

Gil, our tour guide in Jerusalem’s Old City, has a fascinating depth of knowledge of the history of the land that is now called Israel. What strikes me first and foremost is
how many times the land has changed hands – Judea captured by the Romans, overcome by the Arabs, retaken by the Crusaders, lost to the Moguls, captured by the Turks, ruled by Egyptians and colonized by the British, to be carved up and a portion assigned to the Jews. For more details see the History of Palestine.

We traveled in time through Roman streets, Crusader markets, and the Western Wall. We saw the exact place where Jesus’ cross stood, where his body was washed, and the cistern where the wooden cross was found.

And yes, even the salvation of those who lived before the time of Christ is assured, because the blood from the sword wound in Jesus’ side spilled into the ground where the bones of Adam (as in Adam and Eve) lay.

Truth or Fiction?Abrahamic Reunion Israel Lords Prayer Aramaic

It’s a matter of faith. Whether actually true or not, it becomes true by centuries of worshipers paying homage to their belief.

The richness and diversity of beliefs is staggering in Jerusalem. Check out the Lord’s Prayer recited in Aramaic by a Syriac Christian, one of the few remaining in the world.

Abrahamic Reunion Israel Syriac Christian ManShortly after this, we walked through a Christian Church into the Muslim Quarter where there is a Yeshiva – a Jewish educational center to study traditional texts like the Torah and Talmud. A Jewish family was making it’s way down the narrow stairs with a stroller and children. His wife, surprisingly, was dressed in a full black burka. Even her face was covered. This borrowing of cultures is probably for privacy and security.

If you are fascinated with history, let me refer you to a book and audiobook that puts it all in perspective. Written by Peter Frankopan, Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University, it’s called The Silk Roads: A New History of the World. No longer we perceive Europe to be the center of civilization. Truth is, Middle Eastern and China civilizations far predate Europe. And commerce / trade has been the impetus for migration, far more than religion — and commerce in the guise of religion.

It’s with this backdrop of history that we are engaging with Peacemakers active in the Holy Land to create dialogue between the Children of Abraham – Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druz.

Abrahamic Reunion Israel night

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

Connect with our Journey tomorrow, when our work continues at Tantur Ecumenical Institute


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