Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Monday, August 6, 2012

Last Days Walk 1

Perhaps our last class pic as we waited for our bus to arrive for our Last Week Walk

 Today was the first of our two Last Days Walks.  Today we started in al-Eizariya, the modern Palestinian town that is built on the site of biblical Bethany.  We then proceed on to Bethphage, where Jesus began the Triumphal Entry down the Mount of Olives and then visited two churches on the slopes of that mount.  Next we had lunch in the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden, where we recalled Jesus' Mount of Olives Discourse.  We then bused to Mount Zion, where, in a room called "the Cenacle" (from the Latin cenaculum for "the dinner place") we held a devotional on the Last Supper and the institution of the sacrament.

We have developed the pattern of having students do the reading and teaching at most of these sites.  Final exams are behind us, and we teachers have led all the other field trips.  This is a wonderful opportunity to hear from our fellow students as they ready the New Testament accounts on site and share their witnesses of the events that occurred during our Savior's Final Days.  I did share excerpts of my book God So Loved the World: The Final Days of the Savior's Life with those who presented in case they wanted to use those as a guide, but in the end their devotionals were all their own.

This is also my second-to-the-last day in the Holy Land.  Time is at a premium, and I must turn to the more mundane but necessary task of packing.  As a result in this blog and in tomorrow's (if there is one tomorrow), I will simply paste the Last Week Walk program on each day and then put pictures under them, perhaps without many captions at this point in time.


Bethany: Raising of Lazarus
  • Outside of tomb: Juan Pinto (John 11:38–46)

Juan teaching outside of Lazarus' tomb

Bethany: The Anointing of Jesus before His Passion
  • At church: Melinda Muri (John 1:1–8; cf. Mark 14:1–9, GSLW, 44–45, esp. “The Woman and Her Testimony”); Hymn 295, “O Love that Glorifies the Son"
After Melinda's devotional, I shared my feelings about the importance of remembering the women who anointed Jesus each year at Easter time, as the Lord has enjoined us.  Speaking of her faith, I honored the women of Christ in my life who have planted the seeds of faith in my heart and nurtured it.

Students following along and singing during Melinda's devotional

Rachel had gone the whole year without riding a camel, so we were fortunate that the opportunity presented itself today!


Bethphage: Triumphal Entry
  • Jon Leemuis (Mark 11:1–10; see GSLW, 13, on accepting Christ as King); Hymn 69, “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”
Because a mass was being held at the church in Bethphage when we arrived, we found a path behind the church which followed the route of the old road from Bethany to Bethphage.

This setting fit perfectly our commemoration of Jesus' procession along a route much similar to this.  Here Jon teaches about the Triumphal Entry.

Also behind the church are some first century tombs, that are very much what like the one in which Jesus' body would have been laid

The present church at Bethphage

The so-called "mounting stone" that Crusaders imagined Jesus would have used to mount the donkey

Pater Noster

The current church of Pater Noster, or "Our Father," commemorates the teaching of the Lord's Prayer.  Since Jesus taught the disciples the importance of prayer on the occasion of the cursing of the fig tree, prayer became associated with this site.  Originally, however, this was an importance Byzantine Church called the Eleona  that was built over the "cave of the mysteries," where Jesus was believed to have taught the secrets of the kingdom to his disciples.

Pater Noster: Teaching Prayer
  • Natalie Pennington (Mark 11:20–26 on prayer and forgiveness; this passage was later harmonized with Luke 10:38–11:4, giving the site its later association with the Lord’s Prayer and its title Pater Noster or “Our Father”) Hymn 145, “Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire”
The current church of Peter Noster
The current church occupies only a small portion of the great Byzantine Eleona basilica, which was built over the "Cave of the Mysteries," which now lies under and in the middle of this open court.

The Cave of the Mysteries

Natalie's devotional on prayer on the grounds of the Pater Noster

Slopes of the Mount of Olives and Dominus Flevit, or "The Lord Wept"

Walking down the Mount of Olives, much as Jesus' disciples would have as they accompanied Jesus on his Triumphal Procession

Dominus Flevit: Lamenting over Jerusalem
  • AJ Swartood (Luke 19:41–44 [beginning of Jerusalem ministry]; Matthew 23:37–39 [close of Jerusalem ministry]); Hymn 122, “Though Deepening Trials” (all 7 verses)

The tear-drop shaped church of Dominus Flevit

Through the filigree tracings of the window of the Church of Dominus Flevit

AJ teaching on Jesus' Laments over Jerusalem

Orson Hyde Gardens

Orson Hyde Garden: The Marcan Little Apocalypse and the Matthean Olivet Discourse
  • Robin Grigg (Mark 13:1–8, 24–33; cf. Zechariah 14:1–4 and GSLW, 37, on Second Coming); Hymn 269, “Jehovah, Lord of Heaven and Earth”)
Rachel at the lower entrance to the Ordon Hyde Memorial Gardens

Robin teaching about the Return of the Lord

The Cenacle or "Upper Room"

This Crusader-era room is built on the site of the earlier, much larger Byzantine church of Holy Zion, which commemorated both the Last Supper and the coming of the spirit at Pentecost.

Upper Room: The Sacrament
  • Anna Marie Ellertson (Mark 14:22–25; see GSLW, 55, “The Sacrament and Us”); Hymn 174, “While of These Emblems We Partake”
After Anna Marie, I recited the sacrament prayers before we sang the hymn.  I then led our class in prayer.

Anna Marie teaching in the Cenacle

A quick visit to Dormition Abbey before heading back to the Center . . .

Dormition Abbey (Wikimedia Commons)

Some views of the Hinnom Valley, or "Hell," on the drive home

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