Another beautiful dawn inside the Jaffa Gate as several of us went back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
After breakfast, we put all our luggage into the bus and went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Institute. Lazarus took us around the main buildings and monuments then gave us time to experience the place on our own.
The memorial to those who were murdered by the Nazis is a reminder of how dangerous we humans can be when we commit the sin of believing that only the people who seem to be exactly like us should be permitted to live. Instead, this pilgrimage has helped remind me that the complexity of cultures, values, and faith of people in this part of the world are more complicated and deeply rooted than I can understand, let alone judge. One of my friends in grad school had a cultural and racial background different than mine. She admonished me, as a woman of privilege, that “I don’t know what I don’t know.” She helped me start to understand that my background and culture gave me blinders, along with a tendency to judge based upon my limited world view. I can hear her whisper in my ear, “You don’t know what you don’t know….”
I can, however, begin to appreciate our differences and similarities, and I can pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of this land and region. I can have an attitude of readiness to learn and grow in relationship with people I meet, and I can continue to support the work of those organizations who care for the orphans and educate the children to be leaders in a complex multicultural world.
Our last Holy Eucharist was at Abu Gosh, one of the sites that commorates the Emmaus resurrection story from Luke’s gospel. Dennis was our celebrant, and we blessed all of the gifts the pilgrims are taking home. This crusader church is in a beautiful garden, and being together in this beautiful place was a blessing.
After dinner in Jaffa, we headed to the airport, said farewell to our new friends, and began very long overnight flights home.