- These five days were a welcome change of pace as we entered our last country. We settled into our digs at the Tantour Ecumenical Center, and began looking at the incredible land around us.
- About twice a day, students would pass through Bethlehem checkpoint to enter the city itself. Some of the time was spent looking at the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the marks it has/is still leaving on Bethlehem; and part of the time was spent visiting some of the historical and traditional sites of Christianity.
|Looking at the Church of the Nativity...|
(c) Kurt Walker
|...And the Conflict. (c) Kurt Walker|
- We snuck into Jerusalem for a remarkable day on Friday, April 13. Eastern Orthodox Good Friday coincided with the last day of Passover this year, and the amazing city of Jerusalem bustled with excitement. We managed to successfully maneuver through the winding streets - and even into the Church of the Holy Sepluchre in the middle of a procession - and come out the other side full of unforgettable stories.
- We spent an amazing day and a half up in the Galilee.
- Visiting Campernaum, we were able to walk in the ruins of a synagogue similar to the one that Jesus would have preached in.
- Floating on the Sea of Galilee, we felt winds like those that Jesus' words quelled.
- Upon the Mount of the Beatitudes, we reminisced on the incredible words of the Sermon on the Mount.
- The next day, we were honored to hear from Archbishop Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Christian who preaches a message of reconciliation based around the events of his own astounding life.
- The past three days have been a blur of site visits (the Western Wall, Garden Tomb, city rooftops, Southern Steps, etc.), street-side interactions, lectures (on topics like Jewish history and sects, Christian Zionism, and the Jewish roots of Christianity), and religious ceremonies (churches and synagogues).