Hello friends . . . grace and peace,
We woke up on Saturday morning in Jerusalem and immediately heard the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris. We are scheduled to have a 7-hour layover at the Paris airport tomorrow but our thoughts turned quickly to the victims and their families.
We had breakfast and then departed at 8 a.m. in the direction of Emmaus, which is famous because of the Biblical reference but isn’t a specific place on the map. We went to Abu-Ghosh, about 10 miles west of Jerusalem, which has been identified as one of the possible locations of Emmaus.
We stopped first at the Benedictine Monastery that was built by the Crusaders in the 12th Century. Today a community of nuns and priests continue the worship in the church and offer hospitality, reflecting the ancient story of the men and women on the road to Emmaus who encountered the risen Christ (Luke 24:13-35). According to excavations completed in 1944, the Crusaders identified the site as the biblical Emmaus.
We then bused up a steep hill to Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church, located on a beautiful site overlooking the city, with Jerusalem visible in the distance. We read the Scriptural account of the Resurrection and Fr Kamal blessed us with his final teaching of the trip.
After spending time in meditation, we went into the church for the final Eucharist of our trip. Aran Walter celebrated and after Michele Whitford read the Gospel (that included the Road to Emmaus account), each person reflected on what part of the reading held the most significance. There was no shortage of emotion as we looked back on the previous 17 days.
We then had lunch served by the Sisters of St. Joseph before returning to our hotel. First, we had to say farewell to Fr Kamal who was heading back to his home in Nazareth, leaving in his wake 24 thankful and better educated pilgrims.
We now await our trip to Tel Aviv late Saturday night and our scheduled flight to Paris, followed by the last leg of our trip to Chicago. Thus far, all indications are that our flights in and out of Paris are without delay or cancellation. (see our previous post on this) Please pray for that whole situation as well as
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” – Psalm 122:6