My right foot is clean, but first the beginning of the story. We had a bomb scare at the border between Jordan and Israel but after a 1/2 hour wait it turned out to be a false alarm. Kinda exciting though! It took four hours to get from Amman to Jerusalem which included the hell of going through Israeli security at the border – but better safe than sorry I always say. And they sure know what they are doing!
We pulled into Jerusalem in the middle of the Jewish Passover and the beginning of the Christian Easter week. Imagine rams horns and song from Jews, Islamic Imams calling out prayers from the mosque minarets, and Christian bells ringing in all the churches. What a marvelous place – like nowhere else in the world.
Today is Thursday and the Papal Nuncio (the Pope’s ambassador to the Middle East) washed my feet in the Holy Thursday Mass. It was very humbling. But before that I went to the Western Wall and joined in the festivities there. The priests were blessing the 30,000 Jews in all their finest dress – prayer shawls, fur hats, curled hair above their temples and mostly black and white dress. I wore my Tilley hat, vest and travel gear. They were very welcoming and accepting. A week ago Palestinians were throwing rocks down on worshippers but not today. Security was extremely tight.
After the Western Wall blessing I went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and saw some friends including the bishop of Jerusalem and the bishop of Nazareth. Lots of pilgrims, more than I have seen here in over two years. Tomorrow we will live out the Passion. We will walk the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to the cross. After watching Mel’s movie it will be much more real. Thanks Mel!
Getting a lot of work done for the David and Elijah documentarys. Yesterday we spend half a day searching for the Cave of Adullam where David hid from Samuel and found it in dangerous territory behind barbed wire. We will explore it but will need military assistance. But, the show must go on!! We also found the cave David hid in En Gedi and the Valley of Goats mentioned in 1 Samuel. We're off to discover more. I will update again soon.
Steve Ray 4/8/04