Maria (Dr Silvera), Bibianna and Maria (mother)

Wow…where to begin talking about a trip to the Holy Land-specifically Jerusalem?

The pilgrimage began with humble prayer asking God to open our hearts- my mom’s, my sister’s, and mine  so we could perceive Jesus in the nuances and the aromas of walking, eating, and praying in the same places He walked, ate, and prayed in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.

While we were boarding the plane for a direct flight to Israel I witnessed seeing my Jewish brothers and sisters in prayer not boarding the plane until they finished their prayers even though their boarding zones had been called. They exemplified making God the priority as they prayed towards the windows.   It was quite a moving and humbling experience to see my Jewish brothers and sisters modeling putting God 1st and before all!

Every Christian, Jew, and Muslim should make it their goal to make a once in a lifetime trip and visit to Jerusalem where the three main faiths meet: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam!!!! If you open your heart you will be forever changed and touched in some deeply unique, personal and spiritual way!  It is a city for the walker in all of us…you can get a great workout going up and down the stairs of the narrow cobbled streets. The people there are in great shape and can walk up those stairs at a great speed and without missing a beat like taking a stroll in the park.

There is Holy Sepulcher Church, one of the holiest places on the earth where walking and praying the Stations of the Cross culminate in the one place where Jesus died and where He rose from the dead.  You have to climb some stairs to reach where the Crucifixion occurred.  There is a black hole in the floor below the main altar that remains from the Cross and you can put your hand in it and get goose bumps from experiencing and visualizing the reality of it all!    Below you see where Jesus was placed on a slab of marble after being taken down from the Cross and where you can visualize the image of the Pieta taking place with Mary the Sorrowful Mother holding in her arms the body of her Beloved Son.   Then you see the area where we believe the three Marias stood watching the Crucifixion (Mary the Mother of God, Mary Clopas, and Mary Magdalene). As you keep walking straight ahead you see the burial area donated by Joseph of Arimethea where Jesus was buried and from where He rose from the dead when He was resurrected.

This altar marks the spot where Mary received the body of Jesus after he was taken down from the Cross. Jesus' body was then laid on the Stone of Anointing and treated with a mixture of myrrh, aloe and aromatic oils.

In front of Holy Sepulcher Church is the Mosque of Omar.  Unfortunately, due to the tensions between Jews and Muslims we were not allowed to visit any of the Muslim areas including the Al Aqsa one of the top three Islamic mosques in the world.  However, we were able to see from a distance the Golden Dome-the “Dome of the Rock”, it is believed that it is the mountain where Abraham was put to the test by God to sacrifice Isaac and where Abraham became our Father in Faith.

Another moving experience is praying in the Western Wall which is what remains of the wall of the second Jewish Temple and considered the holiest place on earth by our Jewish brothers and sisters. Men and women are separated in that area for prayer and people are encouraged to place their written prayer petitions in the wall.  We had the unique experience of taking an archeological tour below the Western Wall to the excavated Western Wall Tunnels. I encourage each of you: Go  to the Holy Land at least once in your lifetime , open your heart to God, and walk where Jesus walked,  in the most holy and contested cities of the world, Jerusalem!

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