Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jerusalem, City of Faith, City of Cell Phones

The Many Faces of the City of Three Faiths

In the Islamic and Hebraic traditions, Jesus is a prophet --- just not "the" Prophet, the way that He is in Christianity.  All three religions overlap in Jerusalem, which among other things was the site from which Mohamed ascended into Heaven.  (Like the body of Jesus, His body is no longer present on this earth.)  What is Jerusalem today?  A site of warfare, a site of pilgrimage, a place of commerce, a place with quiet gardens and posh restaurants and ancient temples and underground parking lots.  it is, above all, a place of humanity --- our common shared bond, as human beings.  Below is a tour of some of the faces of Jerusalem today.  This will include a self-portrait of myself in a falafel shop mirror and will end with candles inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the site of Christ's execution.  (This place, holy as it is, does not necessarily bring out the best in visitors --- as I told my pastor, my private name for it in my journal is "the church of push and trample."

Here is the face of the city --- or I should say, the many faces.

This is a complex city, with 5000 years of history and violence, hope and destruction and rebirth.  Yet during my visit, there was very little visible animosity, other than maybe over a parking place or two.  Right now Israel controls Jerusalem; by some political views, this is wrong: they are occupying land that rightly belongs to Palestine.  There probably is no easy, single, just solution.  For now, it is an uneasy truce, but one that is, at least for the moment, working.  Perhaps if we can just endure like this --- moment by moment, day by day --- that very "waitingness" and lack of resolution will become a workable reality. Until then, we will pray and light our candles, we will face Mecca, we will raise our children as patiently and justly as we know how.  Peace be with us all.

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