There’s probably nothing that compares with celebrating Easter in Israel. I’ve had the privilege of doing that a number of times, both before, during and after living in Jerusalem. This year we were there with a smaller group of business people, and it was a very good trip. In a smaller group there’s a different dynamic. You get more time for fellowship and conversation, while there is still enough time for teaching and worship.
One of the most special things was to walk along Via Dolorosa on Good Friday. We took our time, moving slowly from the Mount of Olives, to Dominus Flevit, Gethsemane, Lithostrotos and the various stations along Via Dolorosa culminating at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Golgotha, and then we closed the evening in the Lutheran Hostel’s small, but lovely devotional room. It all took six hours including lunch at the Austrian Hospice which is situated between the 2nd and 3rd station. From their roof you have a fantastic view over the Old Town. It was a wonderful and very intensive day.
We stayed in Jerusalem for all of Easter, with the exception of an excursion to the Bet Gemal Monastery in Bet Shemesh and to the Arab village Abu Gosh, the Biblical Kiriat Yearim, where the Ark of the Covenant stood for a period, before King David came for it.
Jerusalem is amazing when Christians and Jews celebrate Easter/Pesach simultaneously, which happened this year. And it’s so special to be crowding together with many thousands of orthodox Jews along the Western Wall on Easter Monday, listening to the two chief rabbis speaking out the Aaronic blessing – and both hearing and seeing waves of prayer wash over everyone present. A totally unique and unforgettable experience.