Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jerusalem Overlook Field Trip

Yesterday, we took our first field trip with the students. Dr. Huff and I led a group of 42 students, along with Lani and Rebekah to five different sites.

Our first stop was the Augusta Victoria church, only a few blocks from the Jerusalem Center. This church, built on the Mount of Olives, celebrates the ascension of Christ, as found in Acts 1:9-12. We sung “Come O thou King of kings” to celebrate the future 2nd Coming of Christ. Half of the class went up with Dr. Huff to the lookout tower to learn about the geography in the distance and half of the class stayed with me in the chapel. In the chapel, we explored the artwork of the church, saw the ossuaries, and learned a little bit about how basilicas are laid out. Probably my favorite piece of art in the church shows the Lamb of God, carrying a cross, standing on a book with seven seals. This was placed on the empty altar, with the empty altar reminding us that an eternal sacrifice has already been made.

Stop #2 was the Seven Arches Overlook, a good spot from the Mount of Olives to point out different locations around Jerusaelm, including the City of David.

Our next visit was to what we call “Bethlehem Overlook,” a spot by the Mar Elias Monastery where one can see both Jerusalem and Bethlehem. From our location we could see manger square, where Christ traditionally was born. We sang “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” together and took some time to review key scripture accounts that took place there. I hadn’t made the connection that the book of Ruth largely takes place in Bethlehem and it was fun to make the ancestral connection between Ruth and Christ and see the area where these events took place. We all had some private scripture study time and read Ruth, Matthew 2, and/or Luke 2 and pondered scriptures related to Bethlehem.

Stop #4 was the Haas Promenade which, like our first two stops, gave us a view of the city, but from a different angle. Dr. Huff shared with students how this might have been the place where Abraham first viewed Mount Moriah while journeying from Beer-sheba to sacrifice Isaac (see Genesis 22). Some traditions hold that Isaac was in his 20s or 30s when he was sacrificed, which, if true, adds meaning to the account by showing his submissive nature, which is a type of Christ. While the students and I were enjoying listening to Dr. Huff, Rebekah found a man who was selling flutes and bought one!

Our final stop was the Tomb of Samuel. While the prophet Samuel (the one who chose both Saul and David) probably wasn’t actually buried there, it was a good place to both think about his ministry, and have another overlook. From the vantage point on top of the Crusader tower we could see land where roughly 40% of the Bible took place.

One of the locations we could see was the land of Gibeon. We reviewed some cool scripture stories from Gibeon, including the Gibeonites. We keyed in on the phrase, “the men...asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord” (Joshua 9:14) and discussed the importance of seeking the Lord’s guidance when making difficult decisions. We also talked about Solomon’s visit to Gibeon and Samuel’s counsel to the people to not have a king.

We were in the sun, but Rebekah was sitting in the shade. An Israeli soldier came over and introduced himself to Rebekah; they had a very nice conversation.

After visiting the mosque and synagogue on the site, we got back on the bus and returned home. A great first field trip!

1 comment:

Jared said...

So fun. This blog let's me live vicariously through your eyes, even for just a moment. Thanks!