The Wailing Wall was so significant to me that it needed its own post, but it’s really part of the Jerusalem tour. We had a friend of the family who used to be a tour guide, guide us so I can’t provide a recommendation for a tour guide. However, the city is so remarkable I’m sure a quick search on tripadvisor will lead you in the right direction. Some things to make sure you do while in Jerusalem are, buy a Jewish bagel off a street vendor, try some halva cheese in the market, walk through the 4 Quarters of the city, visit the Western Wall and place a prayer in a crack and finally, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I should preface this by saying I’m not religious so none of these sites relate to me more than the other and yet the feeling I felt at both the Jewish Holy Wall and Christian Holy Church were nothing short of spiritual.
Whatever you believe, one thing most religions can agree upon is that Jesus lived and was crucified. At the time, there were many heretics claiming to be the Messiah and for their “outrageous” claims, were crucified as an example to all others. I can’t side with either opinion about Jesus. If someone came today and claimed to be the Son of God, I’m sure we’d deem them mentally unwell. Yet, if I believe in something bigger than me like God, how can I rule out the idea that perhaps he did send his Son to Earth? None the less, we know this happened despite who we each believe Jesus was, and it is alleged that his crucifixion and resurrection occurred at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
This church is grand and is located in the Christian Quarter. History tells us that in the 2nd century AD, the Roman emperor Hadrian built a temple to bury the cave where Jesus had been buried. Around the year 325 the temple was replaced with a Church by the Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great. While the Church was being built, Constantine’s mother, Helena went searching for remaining signs of Jesus and was said to have rediscovered the tomb. They say Jesus was crucified on a rock and that an earthquake occurred at the site at some point after that and before Helena rediscovered the tomb (according to our tour guide).
In the Church, you go up narrow stairs to the area where they say he was crucified and can wait in a long line to pray at the replica of Jesus’s feet or can simply marvel at the space from in front of it. As we were upstairs, a parade of Orthodox Christians made their way through the Church in black cloaks with black hoods, singing. It was eerily appropriate for the moment. It is said that Jesus’s disciples took his body off the cross and laid it down on the ground, before burying him in the cave. This area is back on the main floor of the Church and is represented by a large and beautiful marble slab. Allegedly, his blood fell through the cracks of the Earth and onto Adam’s buried body and this is how he abdicated the sins of all humanity. As you walk through the Church you come to the cave which is covered by a temple where it is said he was resurrected. There’s a beautiful skylight above the area which shines light to make it look like he is being arisen in front of your eyes. All we can know for sure is that he did exist, he was crucified and these events allegedly took place in or around this Church. Religious or not, when you’re inside a place that holds so much hope, prayer and belief you’ll feel an unprecedented energy and connection to something, whatever your something is.