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Church of the Holy Sepulchre!
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Inside one of the lower chambers
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The entire place is very… ornamented.
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Isn’t that the COOLEST glow ever? Despite being kind of dirty and overly busy, it definitely had a spiritual atmosphere
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We befriended a nice Christian shop owner just outside the main area of the Holy Sepulchre. His name is Charlie and has family in Chicago. For all the outings today, I was with Lauren Call (right) and Abby Hulme (Center).
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To ascend to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, we had to climb… a few… stairs.
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The view from the Church of the Redeemer
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Me, with the view from the Church of the Redeemer
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When we came back down from the tower, Lauren had the idea to sing hymns. We did so and the director loved it. He said afterward that there were a lot of positive comments from visitors. *Blush* It was a great idea, though.
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We made a quick stop at the Church of John the Baptist. It is always closed, though…
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Right as we were leaving, I took a quick panoramic of Damascus Gate. Did I mention that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HAVING A WORKING CAMERA AGAIN?! Cuz’ man, I really do.
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Everyone at the seder passover dinner
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At the end of the passover, we had THE coolest rap that I’ve ever heard.
 I went to a Passover dinner last semester hosted by Dr. Ludlow of the Religion Department and in a lot of ways that was a bit better from my point of view.  Dr. Ludlow has studied things like this for years, had way cool teaching insights, and never forgot anything… ours at the JC was hosted by our Judaism professor, who brought his 4 year old daughter as a guest–so cute. It was really cool, because he himself is an orthodox Jew, and sang portions of the service in Hebrew for us… But at the same time, it felt like he was just winging it–and he left out some minor things.  But the main things were there… and hey, we were in JERUSALEM!  There’s about an hour and a half of reviewing the history of the exodus (10 plagues, etc.), praising God, and rituals before dinner. This is when we take the parsley leaf (a symbol of spring/rebirth) and dip it in salt water (a symbol of tears), eat the bitter herbs (for the trials they passed), look at the lamb bone (representing the lamb blood over the doors), etc. We also have two ritual cups of “wine” before dinner–we had this really awesome grape juice that is bottled here and it tasted way different (good, but really on the sweet side–best if diluted) than any other grape juice I’ve ever had–and two glasses after dinner. Then after the rituals and singing, we eat a big dinner (fried fish, THEN the soup, then the salad, then the meal, then fruit, then dessert—huge!). Then we have the redeeming of the matzah bread (matzah is unleavened bread symbolizing the haste with which the people fled Egypt)
The favorite part: the symbolism of the matzah. We didn’t talk about this during our Passover, but my friend told me about it before, and it is soooo cool! So, at the beginning of the ritual, the head of the house puts three loaves of matzah inside a cloth, symbolizing the Godhead. He takes the middle piece of matzah (Christ) and breaks it in half. The larger of the two halves he puts inside a different cloth. It is needed to conclude the Passover–you can’t end without that last, set apart piece of matzah (given the special name of afikomen), so it is very important that it doesn’t disappear. …but it always does. When I was at the religion department’s Passover, we just passed it around under the table throughout the whole dinner. Last night someone hid it somewhere in the building. At the end of the dinner when we need the matzah in order to end, the head of the house offers a price to “redeem” the matzah (note symbolism of the atonement–so cool!). Generally the person who has the matzah names his price, but last night our professor just offered something–chocolate–outright for it. After he redeems the matzah, they eat it as the last thing in the Passover dinner (this is after dessert). And this is the best part! THIS is the bread that Jesus likely broke and gave to his apostles as the very first sacrament of the Lord’s Supper!!! It’s a symbol of himself, that he already paid the price for, which redeems us. The Atonement. I LOVE BEING HERE AND HAVING SOOOOOOOO MANY TEACHINGS COME TO LIFE!!!!

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