by Robin Clare
This is a follow-up post to This Week in Jerusalem.
“Hurry Garrett, take this picture!” I exclaimed to my son as we walked up the path to the top of Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. I jokingly said, “This picture could make the cover of Time Magazine.”
What is so extraordinary about a picture of a religious Jew and a group of Israeli soldiers looking out across the rich fertile soil of the Golan Heights to Israel’s neighbor Syria? For me, it represented the range of emotions that I felt over our entire twelve days in Israel.
My feelings ran the spectrum from deep love to deep fear. Every day, Hashem would share with me glimmers of hope that we could live in a state of world peace on our planet. Throughout Israel what I saw were people (Jews, Christians and Muslims) who so desperately wanted to be closer to their Divine Source (deep love) that they were willing to live with the undercurrent of harm (deep fear) as part of the day-to-day fabric of their lives.
Our first day in Jerusalem was a Friday. We were unable to move around the streets of Jerusalem “freely” in our air-conditioned bus because the city was filled with Muslims participating in the last day of Ramadan. Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship on the Muslim calendar. On one hand, I was relieved that the Muslims were distracted by their holiday focus and on the other hand, I was honored to be in Jerusalem on such a holy day for our neighbors.
As we walked through the Shuk – the open market filled with Jewish, Christian and Muslim vendors - we were able to feel the excitement of the Jewish people purchasing last minute items for Shabbat – the Jewish Sabbath - and the store-keepers hurrying to close their shops for Shabbat. It was a beautiful reminder of the importance and sanctity of Shabbat.
And yet, as we were walking up the ancient stone staircase out of the Shuk, our tour guide stopped to share with us the beautiful teachings of Yeshua ben Yosef. He explained how Yeshua’s insightful teachings as a Jew morphed into the important teachings of Christianity and how he later became known as Jesus. While we were listening, a group of devoted Christians came up the stairs carrying a large cross that they had been carrying through the nine Stations of the Cross or Via Dolorosa (“Way of Grief") on route to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Our group parted to let this group come through. While many of our group found the monotone prayers of the Christian pilgrims a bit eerie, I stood in awe of the Divine timing. Here we are, being taught Yeshua’s teachings of Oneness with God, and then we were actually given an opportunity to experience how his teachings have impacted a much larger segment of the population, the Christians.
Even on our first day, we were given the opportunity to see why Jerusalem is so important and why it is so important for this city to remain neutral and to have mankind co-exist here in peace. The question for Jerusalem is not to whom it belongs but, rather, how can we continue to have it belong to everyone.
At sunset on our first day in Israel, we went back to the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple Mount (the Kotel) in Jerusalem to experience Shabbat at one of the holiest sites for all of Judaism. I was guided to anchor-in the energies of my first book, Messiah Within into the holy ground in front of and under the Western Wall. Messiah Within is a book about my journey to becoming the Messiah of my own life though my own inner divinity – as each of us can do – and that the Promised Land that I have been waiting for was not geographically here in Jerusalem, but to be found within the inner terrain of my heart center and within the phenomenal connection that I felt to each and every person who stood at the Wall with me.
Standing in awe at the Western Wall, I saw hundreds of people from all over the world; from many nations, many religions, many religious points of view standing together … connected to their Divine source… praying, for what I imagined as (first) inner tranquility and (ultimately) world peace.
Shalom for now!
Guest blogger Robin Clare, author of Messiah Within, is the co-founder of two spiritual organizations: Enlightened Professionals and The ATMA Center. You can read more posts about her trip to Jerusalem at her blog.