Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Tuesday Outing to Jerusalem

Six of us Daughters of St. Paul had an Easter outing today. A friend provided us tickets and even free parking for the Museum of Science in Boston. We were thereto see an IMAX movie called Jerusalem. It gave a cursory history of the ancient city and breathtaking views of the site of the Temple, the Dome of the Rock, and the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The weather was delightful, warm and moderately sunny. The movie served to remind each of us of the events we celebrated last week. From the film I learned that Jerusalem was inhabited by the ancient Jebusites. They worshiped the setting sun which they called "Shalem." Hence comes the name Jerusalem. In the film three young women served as guides: one Christian, one Muslim and one Jewish.
Each girl showed some of the quarter of the city where she lives and explained the celebratory activities of their neighborhoods. I found it interesting that the celebrations highlighted for each group were centered around religious practice, rather than mere cultural practices.
The ancient city has few roads. Instead, pathways or stone staircases lead up and down the hillsides. As one of the guides said, the three major religious groups live side-by-side, yet there is little if any, interaction among the three main religious groups. Jerusalem was invaded 40 times by various armies, among them the Roman army of the Caesars. When the Muslims invaded it in the seventh century, they found it a Christian city.
The followers of Mohamed searched for a place for their own worship. They found what they believed to be the foundation stone or rock of the Jebusite city: a very large black rock almost a plateau on a hill. They chose to build their mosque around the rock. That is why it is called The Dome of the Rock. I was impressed by the Christian girl's remark that the three religious groups live in tight proximity to one another; yet, none of the three religious groups seemed to know much at all about the why and wherefore of the other. May this movie be a way that leads to some understanding and peace to all those living in the Holy Land, especially to those living in the Holy City of Jerusalem. May it bring greater understanding to those of us who do not live in Jerusalem but also live in a multi-cultural setting where we too live with and respect people of all the major religions of the Holy City. Now when I recite the Psalm which says "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" it means much more to me.

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