by Sandy Stevenson
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Jerusalem Easter was approaching and I’d been feeling a bit restless. I met an Israeli neighbour at the local shops and she was telling me how much she missed her home. Later that day, I saw an elderly Jesuit priest whom I’d often spoken to but hadn’t seen for a while. I asked him if he’d made it to Israel yet as he’d often mentioned his desire to go there. He said, “Sadly no”. As I was talking to him I felt some inner excitement. When I got home I was thinking about the feeling of excitement and how interesting it would be to spend Easter in Jerusalem. This was a whole new idea for me as I’d never considered Israel as a place to visit. I mentioned the idea to a friend and she said there wouldn’t be any flight seats left, especially as this year Passover and Easter coincided. My daughter thought it was a great idea and said she’d love to come. I still hadn’t decided anything but I rang the airline to check anyway. They said they were booked out except for two seats on a flight on Good Friday to Eilat in southern Israel. It got in at midnight! The vacant seats seemed like a sign to me, so I booked the two seats. I rang my daughter in London and said “We’re booked for tomorrow night – we need to pack.” Nothing like trust, eh!
Now the thought became stronger and I knew I needed to be in Jerusalem for Easter Sunday. Not a clue why, of course! We flew to Eilat and landed at midnight and started walking with our backpacks. We had had no idea where anything was. We stopped a passer-by and asked about accommodation. He said he thought everywhere was booked out as people fly from all over the world for this weekend. He suggested we try the 24 hour youth hostel further down the road. I trust the universal process, so we headed for the hostel. Upon arriving we were told the dormitories were full but they had did have one room
left with two single beds. How perfect was that! By the way, this youth hostel was no hardship, it was opposite the beach and had a swimming pool on the roof. An amazing place. The next morning I asked at the hostel about getting a bus the following day to go to Jerusalem for Easter Sunday. I was told there were none running on Easter Saturday. I checked on rental cars but there were none left. So while my daughter went to the beach, I headed for the bus station to find out for myself about the buses. When I got there, I was told that actually the bus company had suddenly decided to run an extra bus that afternoon because a religious tour group had been delayed and they needed to get to Jerusalem for Sunday. Me, too! I bought our tickets. Checking out of the hostel, I passed on the information that there was a bus to Jerusalem if anyone else enquired. I asked if they knew of any accommodation available in Jerusalem. They did and they rang and booked us into an Orthodox Jewish priest’s teaching college within walking distance of the Old City. I felt a definite buzz at the idea of the Old City. He said it dated back to the 4th Millennium BC and it was one of the oldest cities in the world. I looked at the postcards for sale in the hostel as I often find this is a great source of inspiration as to where I am meant to be. I saw a picture of the Holy Sepulcher church in the Old City and zing! That was it. That was where I was meant to be. I still didn’t know why.
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
At the time I didn’t know anything about the church and I didn’t need to. I try to operate on a need to know basis and not to clutter myself with unnecessary information. But for those who are interested in its history of it, I later found out the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is said to have been built in around 325. It has been altered many times since but apparently its appearance today is the same as in 1885. It’s seen by most Christians as being the Hill of Calvary where the New Testament says Jesus was crucified. The sepulcher is supposed to be where he was buried.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher has been an important pilgrimage destination since at least the 4th century, being the supposed site of the death and resurrection of Christ. Today it’s also the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church and is shared with many religious groups and has done so for centuries.
After I checked out, I went to the beach to join my daughter and we swam with the bottle nosed dolphins in a cordoned area of the beach. I passed them their ascension codes which I do whenever I swim with dolphins. The weather was very hot, close to 40 degrees but the dry heat made it surprisingly OK. We enjoyed
Dome of the Rock
the beach, had some delicious Falafels – great country for vegetarians – and ambled up to catch the bus. To date, we found this country efficient, clean and well run. For example, one person too many arrived for the bus to Jerusalem. Guess what, they had another bus there within minutes, just for the one person. How many places in the world would that happen, I wondered. The buses are clean and modern. The trip up was great, lovely views and very interesting. Our accommodation was lovely. The priests told me the Holy Sepulcher Church’s main service would be held at 8am the next morning. That was perfect. Up early, we headed to the Old City. I knew we didn’t have much time to find this church before 8am. I just surrendered. I moved fast, ducked across one of the old city bridges, thru gates, stone walls, doorways, down alleys, moving with certainty. My daughter said “Mum how can you do that, you seem to know where you’re going.” I said “It hasn’t changed a bit. The only thing that’s different is the type of goods being sold by the roadside traders on the entry bridge.” That is true. The old city has the same old stone walls as they were in the olden days. I think those who lived there way back would find their way around OK now. We got to the church with minutes to spare. Many different religious groups hold their services there and because of the openness of the space inside you can hear quite a few at the same time. We stopped www.wayoftheheart.net
at the first holy service that felt right and stayed to the end. Then something lovely happened and I felt this was the key to my being there. At the end of the service, candles were handed around. Holding our lighted candles, the priest and all the people from that congregation who wished to join in, began walking to the next religious group’s service. We joined with that church group and their priest and all holding our candles, we moved on to the next group. This went on all around the church as people from each religious group and their priests joined us.
I can’t explain the grace, power and love and incredibly special feeling there was in that group as we grew in number, accepting people of different beliefs with unconditional love. I didn’t know exactly what was happening. I assume codes were passed and it was something to do with bringing in ‘as above so below’. I am happy to just be in the moment and do what feels right without complying with ego and the needs of the mind. I have found that if we, as spirit, need to know the whys, then we will know. After that lovely service we were drawn
Suddenly both of us went silent. It was the energy of the place that silenced us. It was incredible. Whether or not this is the true birthplace of Christ doesn’t really matter. It’s been agreed that it is so for a long period of time and it holds that blessed energy. We stayed there, in silence for some time.
to see other things. The Wailing Wall was interesting. We went to the Dome of the Rock – one of the holiest places to Islam where it’s said Muhammad went up to the heavens and to the El-Aqsa Mosque, the earliest dated mosque in Israel. We got a taxi up to the Mount of Olives to see the footprint in stone where it is said Jesus ascended. We were surprised it wasn’t being promoted to tourists as you would expect in a western country. In fact, as I recall, there wasn’t even a plaque to say what it was. We walked around the very lively city at night. At an open air disco, we were fascinated to see all the women (and men) with rifles across their backs while they danced. Both sexes are conscripted into the army for 2 years at the age of 18 and must have their guns with them at all times. An incredibly disciplined group, we never once saw anyone use any firearms or threaten anyone. It didn’t take long before you just forgot about it. They were friendly and helpful and this applied to the people as a whole. We did other things like go to the Sea of Galilee where the biblical baptisms took place. We floated in the Dead sea, which was brilliant. It would be great for non swimmers as the water is so saturated with salt that you easily float in it, even with your arms and legs up in the air. It was very hot. We observed a large group of ladies who could only paddle as their religion didn’t allow them to wear a swimming costume. We bought packets of Dead Sea mud, said to be rejuvenating. Well, why not?
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. For those into history, The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that is said to have been the birthplace of Christ and is considered sacred by followers of Islam and Christianity. The first church over the cave was begun by Saint Helena and completed in 333. That structure burnt down in 529 and was rebuilt in its present form in 565 by Emperor Justinian. I loved the lack of tourism. There was one small stand outside selling wooden angels made from Olive trees. My daughter and I entered and walked down the old stone steps below the ground floor level to the birthplace of Jesus. As we walked down, we were chatting. Suddenly both of us went silent. It was the energy of the place that silenced us. It was incredible. Whether or not this is the true birthplace of Christ doesn’t really matter. It’s been agreed that it is so for a long period of time and it holds that blessed energy. We stayed there, in silence for some time. Then we spent time around the ancient Olive tree in the grounds. So, another adventure drew to a close. We headed back to the United Kingdom knowing we’d achieved what we set out to do... Whatever exactly that was! b
Isn’t it wonderful going to places you have heard about all your life? I remember feeling like that in New York, finally seeing places I’d seen in movies like 42nd street, 5th Ave., Tiffany’s and Macy’s. As a last venture before we flew out of Eilat, we got a bus to the Said to be the birth place of Jesus
Sandy Stevenson Sandy Stevenson is a well known international presenter and author of the best seller The Awakener and I Am Here. She organised the worldwide OM from Wembley in London in 1994 involving a million people in 58 countries. Sandy, has worked with the Highest Ascended Masters of Light for over 16 years. She offers easily understood truth, encouraging others toward greater self mastery, integrity, understanding highest truth, discernment, faith, trust and love. Sandy is personally committed to the completion of the Divine Plan for Earth and the homeward journey of the Lightworkers, those who came here to help. www.wayoftheheart.net
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