Location, location, location: May 3, 2016
Today we visited probably the most controversial place of real estate, The Temple Mount. This is the currently location of both Memorial to Mohammad (the Dome on the Rock) and a Mosque. This area is a very special site to several different religions. Gen. 22 we read where Abraham took Isaac there and God provided a sacrifice. David later purchased it for 50 shekels (as it was a threshing floor). Later his son Solomon built the first temple, which was destroyed in 586/7BCE. The second temple was built there. It was destroyed in 70a.d. In 638a.d. the Muslims believe that Mohammad came their on a white horse claiming it, (it is also called Mt. Moriah). The golden dome is a memorial to Mohammad and the gray dome pictured to the right is the actual muslim mosque.
Our guide warned us that we would be heavily watched and than we were not to touch each other and the ladies needed to cover both shoulders and elbows. She also suggested that the men in our group take a “perimeter” position around the group just to be more secure. When we arrived at the Temple Mount, it didn’t take long to realize that she wasn’t kidding. There were guys with walkie-talkies all around. They would follow us a short distance, later to be picked up by someone else. Even though it was an unusual position to be in, I never felt threatened, just a little perturbed that they had to act that way. The guy holding on to the “spirit dome” in the right edge of this picture is one of our “friendly followers”.
From there we visited the pool of Bethsada. This is where Jesus healed the man that had been crippled for 38 years. Then we traveled up the Via Dolorosa (the way of sorrows). We also visited the “Stations of the Cross). The Stations of the Cross gives a historical perspective of what happened to Jesus as he made his way to Golgotha.
We visited several other sites and walked through a market place filled with interesting shops. Our final stop of the day was the Garden Tomb. We saw Golgotha, (the place of the Skull) thought to be the place where Christ was crucified. It’s interesting seeing two settings coming close together as today it is located behind a busy bus station. At the conclusion of this visit we were able to share communion. It was extremely special sharing the Lord’s Supper with both those from Milwaukie Covenant, but also our new friends from N.Y., Nebraska, Texas and Australia. We ended the service with the singing “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.
As I titled this section, Location, location, location, this truly is an amazing location.
pb (p.s. I have been having some trouble with the Internet, therefore I am behind in a few posts. Thanks to the amazing work of the famous Adam “computerman” Wunn, I am hoping to get caught up this evening. We just made it to Turkey on the coast of the Aegean Sea.)