Sunday, July 17, 2011

Garden of Gethsemane

Another early start and we are on our way to the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the upper left hand corner of the above picture is a tomb with a conical roof called Absalom's tomb or also referred to as Absalom's Pillar. Located in the Kidron Valley this shrine is ascribed to Absalom based on 2 Samuel 18:18.
Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to preserve my name." So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day.

According to Wikipedia, for centuries, it was the custom among passersby—Jews, Christians and Muslims—to throw stones at the monument. Residents of Jerusalem would bring their unruly children to the site to teach them what became of a rebellious son. The Monument of Absalom existed in the days of Josephus, and was referred to in his Antiquities. With that bit of trivia, I wish I had gotten a better picture!!

The Eastern Gate - it won't be your last look! I became a little obsessed with the Eastern gate.
We arrive as Dr. Joel Rosenberg's (Epicenter Conference) group was leaving. I wasn't taking their picture - I was really taking the Eastern gate and the Dome of the Rock!
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We are entering the private Garden of Gethsemane and I had to take a moment for this picture.
Dr. Joel Rosenberg (black shirt) had just video taped a message for his website and was leaving.
In the private garden we were given the time and opportunity to pray.
A sweet couple from Colorado (whom I wish would come to Texas for a visit) surreptitiously took this picture of me praying in the garden.
Yes, it is another picture of the gate!
This is the public side of the Garden of Gethsemane. It is very well tended, beautiful and as a result fenced off from the public pedestrian traffic.
This is a side view of the oldest olive tree in the garden.
The Church of All Nations is located next to the Garden of Gethsemane.
The church is Roman Catholic and it enshrines a portion of the bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before he was arrested. The edging around the rock looks like crowns of thorns. I pulled this picture from the Sacred Destinations website because the day we were there the rock was surrounded by a group from India that were so overcome by emotion that they were kneeling around the rock and kissing it.
These old olive trees were beautiful in their own way. What was hard for me to understand was the people that were reaching through the fence to take a piece of bark of the oldest olive tree. Yes, it was living in the time of Jesus but if you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior, He lives in you! If you're not sure, read 1John.
These last two pictures are two of my favorites because the monk provides an even more tranquil look to the garden. And the picture below is another view of the oldest olive tree.

They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

St Peter in Gallicantu

Kay will teach today in the courtyard of St Peter of Gallicantu.
"After the Supper, Jesus left the Upper Room with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley."
It was from the Upper Room that they went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
"Those who had arrested Jesus took him Caiaphas the High Priest."
On the southeastern slope of Mt Zion is the traditional location for the house of Caiaphas. It was another early morning with the sun just coming up over the Mount of Olives. The church was built in 1931. (Again, sorry for the quality of the picture but I was shooting into the sun! Never a good idea!)
The statue commemorates Peter's denial at the questioning of a young servant girl. At the top of the pole is the rooster who crowed. Inscribed on the statue is “Non novi illum” which means “I do not know him.” (Luke 22:57)
The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62
I don't think that it's our sins that make us weep "bitterly" though they have a part in it. I think Peter was reminded when the Lord turned and looked in the eye of the Savior he had sinned against.
But the most beautiful part of Peter's story is in John 21 after the Lord's resurrection when He asks Peter three times, "Do you love Me?" Three... one for each denial! And Peter is called into the ministry when the Shepherd says, "Tend My sheep." Complete restoration!!
The courtyard is off to the side of the church and some believe that it is the area where Christ would have been scourged.
We always began our time of worship with a song.
Just like everywhere we have been in Jerusalem it is amazing to consider where you are in light of what occurred here. This is where the high priest lived. From here, Jesus and his disciples walked to the Mount of Olives. Here, Jesus was brought back to the city after his betrayal and arrest. Here, Jesus faced his accusers. Here, He was imprisoned for part of a night. Here, Peter denied his Lord. Here, Peter himself, along with John, was later imprisoned .
Jesus was arrested and taken to Caiaphas the high priest.
Just below the wall where I was sitting was the steps depicted in the sculptured relief above.
This stone pathway actually predates Jesus by 100 -150 years and it crosses the Kidron Valley and climbs the Mount of Olives where you would find the Garden of Gethsemane.
This picture I took from the courtyard and in the distance you can see the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.
Behind me on the other side of the stone pathway was perched Kay's son, David. (on the left)
"Servus Domini" Latin for Servant of God
I thought you might want to spend a little time in the courtyard at the house of Caiaphas. It is just a taste but a delicious one I think!
The Sacred Pit
If you can possibly read the above it will help to explain the pictures below.
Under the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu, a dungeon type chamber, hewn out of bedrock, testifies to the type of power the high priest wielded. A single entrance, or portal, in the floor was the means by which a prisoner was confined in the dark cells below. The only way in or out for a prisoner was via a rope.
While we were in the pit, we read Psalm 88 about being lowered into the lowest pit. We could imagine Jesus being lowered into this pit by a rope. It would have been absolute darkness. “You have put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths.” (Psalm 88:6) The Byzantines built the steps to get into the pit as a part of their church. The only entrance in Jesus’ time was the hole.

"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 17-18

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha'ananim

All mighty endeavors spring from a modest beginning, and west Jerusalem's wellspring is the combined neighborhood of Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha'ananim, a humble quarter of stone houses and narrow alleyways perched on a hill a stone's throw away from the westernmost of the Old City's walls, established in 1891. It was Sir Moses Montefiore who proposed Yemin Moshe (the name means "The Right Hand of Moses"), and it was Montefiore whose enormous means, gathered during a unprecedentedly successful career trading and investing in London, built and peopled an entire neighborhood where once there had been nothing more than a barren hillside. His passionate love for the Land of Israel was fostered by a series of tours over the course of his 100-year life.

The neighborhood's most prominent landmark is its windmill, visible (at height) from much of Jerusalem. The windmill was poorly engineered and never functioned properly, but it served as a symbol of the development of Jerusalem, which rapidly snowballed (thanks in part to the further generosity of Montefiore) after Yemin Moshe was established.

On this afternoon Pat and I have free time to explore so just east of the hotel is a park and an artist community with a wonderful view of the old city. My recent posts have been long and wordy so I am going to do my best to make this a primarily visual experience! :)
Bloomfield Park
Gate to Artist's Colony
Gozlan Garden Park

Looking down at one of the archaelogical digs I remember I told Pat that I wanted to take this picture so that when I came back I could take another picture and be impressed at the progress! And who knows, if the Lord tarries perhaps my kids will come and they'll be amazed at the change!
On the way back through the Bloomfield Park we ran into a bride and groom having their pictures taken.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11