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Holy Land: Day 11 (Christa van der Veer)

It’s hard to describe the opening of our hearts, as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We see the sites and hear about the scrolls and archeology that document the locations of the events at each site. The veil is thin here, between our earthly place and Jesus. Israel has helped me gain clarity on our gospels and the Bible. In some places, the air gets cool, peaceful and quiet. You feel different, you feel yourself transforming. Everything recedes and you can almost see the shadow of Jesus, as he turns a corner. Jesus is here. You see the gospels in front of you, as we read them aloud at each site.

The Dome of the Rock was like this for me. We didn’t read the gospel there but I was transformed. We had a tour inside, which was a great gift. It’s the third holiest site for Muslims. Mohammed, their prophet, ascended to heaven there. I was loaned a full skirt to enter the mosque. The women covered their heads and necks. It is an extremely contested site between the Arab Muslims and the Israeli Jews.

I believe in one God. I believe we all worship the same God. It’s not surprising I found him in a mosque. Our guide was a Muslim Arab. He patiently explained the mosque. He explained that the 32 acres of the Dome of the Rock was holy. God was everywhere on the site, not just in the mosque.

That’s what Israel has given me, the knowledge of God being everywhere. I feel it now. At home, I say the words and desperately want them to be true. Here, I watch the gospels unfold as we say the words and I know it all happened. The enlightenment I wanted, is mine. –Christa van der Veer

Dome of the Rock