A day of remembering…

Most of a pilgrimage trip like the one that I am on is about remembrance.  So each and every new day we walk places that were mentioned in our Scripture or are contemporaneous with our Scripture or are traditional in the history of our church (that is church with a small “c”, as in church universal).  And yesterday was like the Olympics of remembering, as we prayed at the Western Wall, visited the Temple Mount, and walked the Via Dolorosa up to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, then continued our pilgrimage to the City of Hebron, visiting the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Leah, and ending our day at Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem memorial to those killed in the Holocaust.

Of course, in the midst of such a holy, moving day, it fell to me to provide the comic relief.  I apparently seriously miscalculated the length of my skirt for our visit to the Temple Mount and got an opportunity to experience Arab fashion first hand.023

But that episode was quickly forgotten amidst the sights and sounds that surrounded us.  And nothing brought forward the pain of remembrance with more intensity than our last visit, the visit to Yad Veshem.  I have personally avoided visiting the Holocaust Museum which is right down the street from where I live because I was not certain that I could stand the pain of that remembrance again.  But here, surrounded by new friends, I walked that walk.  And it was particularly chilling having just returned from deep within the West Bank.  There, while still below the surface, the tensions are palpable and it is the first time that we have seen soldiers everywhere.  Yes, this is a complicated land.

This land has a very complicated history and I am afraid a complicated future.  And remembering here is sometimes hard:  it was hard to focus on remembering the way of Christ, when it leads you through the Arab souk.  And it is very, very hard to walk through Yad Vashem, remembering how few Christians of that day stood up against what was going on.  It is very hard, when you have to ask yourself the question — what am I not standing up for now?

Thank goodness for a little comic relief.  I am always happy to oblige.

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  1. Sharon Watts

    Only visiting the Holy Land through books and films, I can’t imagine what it is like to be present to all the pain that has shaped the people of that land. I am so glad you are taking the time to walk through the memories of the Holocaust no matter how difficult as well as the land of Arabs who live in a complex system and then to be decorated with a skirt of the land… well that is just perfect…
    Remembrance is such a big thing in Judaism… and with all people of faith… as it changes time and allows one to be present for events that happened many years ago- as if you were there…not completely, shaped be the way you remember, and the way that memory is processed… but I love that you participated in that rare combination of memory and experience… thanks for giving me thoughts about your trip.

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