Tourist traps are anathema to me. I had never wanted to visit Jerusalem because of the envisioned legions of tourist buses crowding the historic sites. I was predisposed to look on cynically as thousands of Christians from all over the world come to the Old City of Jerusalem to “walk where Jesus walked.”
And thousands did come, carrying crosses down the Via Dolorosa (Top and middle photos) as they tried to empathize with Jesus as he carried His cross to Golgotha, the place of crucifixion. But tradition conflicts as to the exact location of His crucifixion and burial: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (bottom photo) or the Garden Tomb. So some Christians go one way to worship and some another.
In my eyes, the holy was made mundane even as we sat in a cafe eating pizza and drinking mint lemonade. The enterprising waiter called out to those walking the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, “Come eat pizza where Jesus ate pizza.” Other shop owners nearby hawked their Christian wares of crosses made of olive wood and intricately painted icons. But I suppose this is really nothing compared to hundreds of years ago when merchants promised the faithful a “real piece of the cross” for a fee.
Surprisingly, I was still moved by walking where Jesus walked. To be standing on the Temple Mount, Knowing that Jesus had visited the Temple as a child and adult…well…I was moved. I stood on the Mount of Olives where Jesus took in the magnificent view of the city and wept…and I was moved. I stood alone in the Garden Tomb that could have been where Jesus rose from the dead…and I was moved.
I want to go back, but still not on a tour bus.
(Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, 1/100 sec, f5.6, ISO400)
(Canon 5D2, 70-200mm @180mm , 1/640 sec, f2.8, ISO320)
(Canon 5D2, 35mm f1.4 , 1/200 sec, f1.4, ISO1250)
Photos ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman 2010