Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Center of the Religious World

I took a sight-seeing tour of Jerusalem today. Although I am no follower of any particular religion, it certainly was interesting traveling around a city where three major religions choose to place their focus. Israel is in many ways like America in that it is a melting pot. Just walking around the old city, they have it divided into Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian quarters.

In one day I managed to see the Wailing Wall, King David's tomb, Jesus' tomb, Mary's tomb (for those Greek Orthodox out there), the spot where Jesus was crucified, the spot where Judas betrayed Jesus, the spot where Jesus was cleansed for burial, the room of the Last Supper, and various Muslim things which weren't gone into very much.

One thing I find amazing is watching the people that are really into their particular faiths visit these areas. You see people kissing all these spots, praying, bowing, etc. I guess I am just intrigued how people can visit one place and take different experiences from it. Where I found myself thinking how much it must have sucked to be crucified and wondering what the city looked like back then and just generally amazed at the history of my surroundings, people around me are practically on the verge of tears and are overwhelmed with emotion. And we're both looking at the same thing. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

At any rate, I am glad I went on the tour and can say I went to some of these places that many would love to go to. I have plenty of pictures which I can share, as well, though I couldn't take any of David's tomb or the Wailing Wall because it was Saturday. Hell, you can't even write next to the Wailing Wall on a Saturday. It was kind of neat seeing all those little notes tucked into the cracks, though and I can say I touched the wall. And who knows, if the Wailing Wall really is the division between man and God, perhaps just that touch might have helped me out some. I sure could use the help.

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