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Palestine

Day Six

Good Evening friends,

Today we went to Bethlehem, which is in Palestine, which added an interesting dynamic to our trip. I have heard lots on the news about the conflict here, and it was interesting to meet people who live there, and the way in which both sides of the conflict relate to their lives. One of my new friends who is more outgoing than me asked really normal questions of our temporary tour guide. Our normal tour guide could not come with us because, as a Jewish Israeli citizen he is not allowed into the cities and villages in Palestine, although he may drive through. I am still processing my thoughts on all of this, so I will leave this here for now, and move on towards our day. But the one thing I would add - pray for Palestinian Christians, and pray for Christians around the world who are minorities, oppressed, or marginalized, that they would continue to shine the light of Christ which we so freely enjoy.

Before leaving the city this morning we went to Mt. Zion where we saw a traditional place for the upper room, the tomb of David, and the traditional place of the Dormition of St. Mary. These were all interesting. Seeing the Jewish people praying at the tomb of David was quite moving, and hearing our group sing praises in the location of the upper room was also quite stirring.

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A sculpture of the ingrafting of the Gentiles (at least that's what I think was going on here).
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Pictures from Dormition Abby

It was a very short walk from there over to Ciaphasis Palace. On the way, we were able to see the tombs on the side of Mt. Olives. I think the tour guide said there were 900,000 people buried there.

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Inside the church built over the last parts of Ciaphasis's Palace is a prison, likely where Christ was held. They would have thrown the prisoners down into the holes we see. Some would have broken bones. It was baren, and heartbreaking to stand in that small room. One of the things I've been struck by is the humiliation of Christ at the crucifixion.

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A map of old Jerusalem for perspective.

After this, we headed to Bethlehem.

It was interesting to be in the city in which Christ was born. For me, the Church of the Nativity was a little overwhelming. I enjoyed talking with my new friends and learning about the tour guides live as a Christian in Palestine. I will post a couple of pictures to give you some perspective.

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The door of humility to enter the church of the Nativity.

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Inside the church of the Nativity, primarily the Greek Orthodox chapel.

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Going into the area where tradition says Christ was born

Following the Church of the Nativity, we headed to the Shepherds Field. This was the area that it was likely that the Angel announced to the shepherds that Christ was born.

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Shepherds' Fields. It is greener than normal due to the fact that they have received a considerable amount of rain lately.

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Caves where shepherds would hide their sheep. The second photo there is a long skinny cave that you can walk/crawl through and leads to another spot on the mountainside which was pretty cool.

That's all for now friends. It's been a great trip, but I'm tired.

Posted by revbeard 07:47 Archived in Israel

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