Journey to Jerusalem

Journey to Jerusalem

Lent resource from Christian Aid

During Lent 2009, you are invited to join a virtual journey through the Holy Land, Journey to Jerusalem

With help from people who have travelled in the region – and those that live and work there – we will see the sights but also hear what it is like to work for peace in this troubled region.

Along the way we will reflect on what Jesus’ example can teach us about how we can make a difference in the world.

We will encourage you to join in by adding your comments and prayers to our posts.  We want to hear your views and reflections, all we ask is that you keep in mind our guidelines for contributing to the journey

Learn more at:  Journey to Jerusalem

What is this pilgrimage all about?

It’s about offering the opportunity to hear directly from Israelis and Palestinians living in the Holy Land today.

Many pilgrims in the Middle East find themselves on a tour bus, with little opportunity to speak to people about their lives and experiences.

This pilgrimage aims to break down those barriers and enable people to hear the stories from both sides – in a spirit of understanding and tolerance.

Along the way we will hear two kinds of stories; firstly of the painful reality in the Holy Land today, of violations of human rights and policies which keep people in poverty.

And secondly, stories of hope from Christian Aid partners who bring relief from suffering, who stand up for human rights and who look to a future of peace with justice and security for all.

Regardless of the recent events that have brought so much bad news from the region, in this period of Lent we look forward to the future in hope because we know that when we arrive at the tomb on Easter Sunday we will find it empty.

It is this hope that means even in difficult times we cannot give up, but will continue to remember all the people of Israel and the Occupied Territories in our prayers and through the practical support that we offer.

So join together in a time of discovery, of prayer, of reflection and in a spirit of hope as we journey together through the land called Holy.

Where will the pilgrimage go?

As befits a pilgrimage that follows Lent, when Christians remember the 40 days Jesus spent in the Wilderness, the pilgrimage begins on the Mount of Temptation. Of course it has to pass through Bethlehem, where like any pilgrims we’ll visit the Church of the Nativity that marks the spot where Jesus was born, and we’ll spend a bit more time in the town to meet part of the Christian community still living there today.

Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, is another town of huge Biblical significance, where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, and – some say – Adam and Eve are buried, and where Israelis and Palestinians live in closer proximity than anywhere other than Jerusalem.

Everyone has been thinking a lot about Gaza, and the areas of Israel within reach of militant rocket fire, since Christmas 2008. We’ll be speaking to some of the Israelis and Palestinians who were affected by the violence, and who are none the less struggling for peace.

We’ll be spending some time in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and in Nazareth and the Galilee, where we will re-trace the steps of Jesus, and meet some inspiring Palestinian and Israeli youth activists, and have a good pilgrim’s packed lunch of bread and fishes by the water’s edge.

We’ll travel south down through the West Bank, getting a sense of Palestinian life there today, and meeting some inspiring Israeli doctors who spend their free time being modern-day good Samaritans.

Finally, of course, to Jerusalem for Holy Week and Easter Sunday, where we follow the Easter story day by day in each location around the ancient city, find out what it means to people of three faiths, and get a sense of the mystery, majesty and tragedy of this inspiring place.