Jerusalem: A journey for three faiths - #SLPilgrimage
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Some of the Salt + Light team are in the Holy Land on pilgrimage. We are also preparing something special for you to watch in the near future. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here is the text of a reflection that was recorded in Jerusalem:
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded in the IV millennium B.C. This city has seen so many challenges in its history. It was destroyed twice, besieged twenty three times, attacked fifty two and reconquered 44 times. Somehow she always rebuilt herself and attracted people from all over the world to journey to her in pilgrimage.This sense of pilgrimage is in the foundations of this city. A city three times holy; three different faiths find here sites important to their history. Because of that Jews, Muslims and Christians journey here every day to meet God.Jerusalem is holy for Jews because King David made her the capital of Israel in the x century B.C. Jerusalem was where the Temple of Solomon and the Second Temple were located, and the western wall is the remnant of the exterior wall of the temple. It is said to be the most holy place for the Jewish faith. All synagogues around the world are built with the Aron Kodesh, the place where the Torah is kept, turned to Jerusalem. All daily prayers are done facing Jerusalem and many Jews have Mizrach plaques hung in their houses to indicate the direction of Jerusalem.
For us Christians Jerusalem is the place where Christ finished his journey of salvation. He was triumphantly welcomed to this city. He preached here and was crucified. Here most significantly is where he rose from the dead. So we Christians believe that this is the center of our faith. When we journey here we feel closer to Christ. We can almost see him carrying the cross on the Via Dolorosa and we have a sense that we can touch everything we believe in.For Muslims, Jerusalem is sacred because they believe that Mohamed journeyed here. He came to a rock that is under that golden cupola. From there he rose to heaven and saw God himself. This makes Jerusalem the third most important city for the Muslim faith after Mecca and Medina.
This sense of journey is present in all of these three faiths: the journey of the people of Israel to the promise land, the Journey of Christ to his death and resurrection, and the journey of Mohammed to rise to heaven and meet God. But a bigger journey brings the believers here to Jerusalem: their own life journey. We and any of our Jewish or Muslim brothers trust God to be with us every step of the way and for Him to point us in the right direction when the challenges of life are more difficult.Coming here is coming on a quest to find God himself to allow him to touch our lives so we can feel more close to him.This journey is not different because we are Muslim, Christian or Jewish. We all have the ultimate goal to one day meet God face to face and experience the joy of eternity. When we come here we come to walk closer to God and maybe taste what we will experience when one day when we are in fact in presence of God.
Muslims, Christians and Jews come here to Jerusalem because they know that God loves us and they come to find themselves because we all know only in God's presence we will find out who we really are. If we all journey with the same goal maybe that means we are all together on our path to God and God loves us all.So coming here to Jerusalem for any of these three faiths is a sacred journey. It is a journey to find God and in the end a journey to find themselves.Because this Holy City It is common to all three faiths it means that we all journey to God together. It’s almost like god is telling us that faith should not be a barrier between us.Here we all come to meet God our own way and we all aspire to feel the same closeness to Him. We all come here to find Him at the end of our journey.