Monday, July 30, 2007

A Holy Experience from Hell

We spent Saturday on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Well, maybe it doesn't qualify as a pilgrimage, we didn't actually walk there but opted for an air conditioned bus, but nevertheless, we went.

In the religious world, you would be hard pressed to find a piece a land more sacred to different religious groups than Jerusalem. It's hard not to feel the weight and sanctity of the place.

Until someone is waving a "Shalom, Y'All" plaque under your nose and yelling, "Hey guys! Come see my shop! 50% off!" as you walk the 14 stations of Christ.

What the HELL? Makes it a bit harder to soak up the history and monumental importance. If Jesus Christ himself returned and saw this mayhem outside the church built over Golgotha hill, I'm sure it would be a repeat of his tantrum in Herod's Temple when he upset the money changers tables. We were all sickened by this absolute display of commercialism, in addition to angered by the attitudes of many of the shopkeepers.

But, we stood on hallowed ground, reveled in the history, and took an unexpected but cool sidetrip to Bethlehem and to the American Elvis Diner (!).

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