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Still No Internet Connection. Today is 12/23/09 in Jerusalem

Chart a course during breakfast.

The main goal today is the Dormition Abby and St Peter located on Mount Zion.

I go by way of Damascus gate and am stopped in my tracks by a most beautiful light in one spot – people that walk through it are getting hit by direct sun from the side and a bounce to the front from a white hanging sweater…. I tuck into a corner and stand and take photos of people as they move through the light.

Within a few minutes the sunlight is no longer bouncing off the sweater and the light is gone. – what a great moment!

Inspired I continue photographing people on my path through the Muslim quarter merchant streets. Here are a few shots (and a couple others from later in the day)

I stop to buy a belt so I don’t have to keep pulling up my pants… that is a big help!

I make my way up some stairs and come out at the Coptic Church section at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Another priceless photo-op in the Coptic Church of a man reading a Bible and I am feeling pretty good about this morning.

I try looking for St. George, an Orthodox Church, and wind through a few allies for more luxury photos!

I find St. George after stumbling through a nunnery (where a sister tells me how to find the church and asks if I am American – when I say yes, she holds out her hand and asks for a dollar!) Maybe she wasn’t a nun.

It turns out they will not let me in to St. George with the cameras. I ask when they will be open (I am given the hint), “never”.

I find Christ Church in the Christian Quarter on my way to the Dormition Abby. Christ Church is built to look like a Synagogue. Built in 1849, it is the first Protestant church in Jerusalem and meant to minister to the Jews.

There I meet Louis Sherman who is working the door, handing out information on the church. We talk a while. He mentions a man who was helpful to him beyond seminary, a man named Derek Prince, and gives me two of his books to take.

I tell Louis that I feel like a sponge being filed up with living water for finally having talked with a Christian here in Jerusalem about Christian things. Being Christian here is not something one does boldly among the Jews.

_mg_4546lefever_peopleoldcity_j_dl I head over to the Dormition Abbey. But first take a look at David’s Tomb and the Synagogue on the spot.

A man asks if I want to see the upper room (believed to be where the Last Supper took place, though it is also thought to be in another location as well). He directs me up stairs and asks me to sign a book when I come back down.

The man’s name is Yeshua (Joshua), and I later sign his book, in a little synagogue he tends there in the complex. It is more like a room or a grotto (cave) and is pink with wall murals painted long ago by a French woman. I take photos and he asks for money. EVERYONE asks for money here. (even if you ask for directions, the hand comes out…or I am asking the wrong people).

At the Dormition Abbey, it is soothing.

I take some photos and then head down into the grotto below where the shrine to Mary is located. I sit there for a while. A tour group comes through and then I find myself alone in silence. It is soothing here too.

It is good place to pray.

I find my way over to St. Peter.

There is a platform that over looks Kidron Valley and all Eastern and Southern Jerusalem.

A breathtaking view. I want to live here: on this spot.

A tour group comes and the woman leading it points out below where Judas hung himself. She goes on to give a sermon and a teaching to not be a Judas, but to ask God for forgiveness – that there is nothing we can do so bad that God will not forgive – but not to take our own lives, not to be a Judas.

I make it in to the sanctuary. The mosaic tile work here is beautiful and very soothing. I sit there for a while, too, and pray. There was a gold rooster on top of the church and artwork around depicting Peter’s denial of Jesus before the rooster crows three times… and I sit and consider all the times I have denied Jesus.

And I think to ask forgiveness in confession and not be a Judas.

I leave the church and head back to Mount of Olives for dinner and to edit today’s photos.

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