Saturday, July 21, 2012
When the priest carried the "host" around the congregation, virtually all bowed. Our friend Habib, stated that Catholics believe that the actual presence of Christ is among those gathered. This is very similar to the Jewish belief that when the "Ark of the Covenant" is opened that the presence of God is there. Both would believe that a priest or rabbi must intercede for the people. We have only been in one mosque, (Abraham's mosque) in Hebron, though the moslem practice of veneration of relics and religious objects appears much the same.
This is in contrast to our biblical understanding that Christ entered the Holy place once for all and opened the way that all believers may commune and fellowship with God. He is the mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 11). Since Christ has done this, let us celebrate His work for us.
The religiosity of the people here is astounding, though it is only through Christ, (the living water, bread and word), that man and women receive true life and peace.
Here in Jerusalem, a biblical passage (Ps. 84) became clearer. Verse 5 says that "Blessed are those whose heart are set on pilgrimage, to Zion, as they pass thru the valley of Baka." The psalmist likely meant the valleys of refreshment that pilgrims to Jerusalem would experience. The key thought is the focus of going up to the temple. As a Christian, my faith pilgrimage, must be focused on the exalted triumphant Christ, (Lord and Savior) who now dwells in the heavenly Zion.
As we have traveled throughout Israel, and visited many geographical places, where events took place, the historical story of Jewish worshipers (including Jesus and his family) traveling to Jerusalem in this difficult climate is amazing.
A picture from Mt. of Olives looking towards Old Jerusalem at the Golden Gate.