- If there were three words I’d use to describe travel they would be – indescribable, magical and above all else – travel is necessary. And while there are so many amazing places in this world – along the way you visit a place that is like no where else on the planet. A place where that is all of the above – Jerusalem.
My mother, may she rest in peace, is from Demopolis, Alabama so every Sunday my sister and I knew where we would be between 10 and 11 a.m., at the First Congregational Church in Randolph, MA listening to Reverend Arthur Bowler deliver his sermon. You will never come between a lady of color and the Lord, and on any given Sunday we might have had plans you couldn’t do anything until 11 a.m. because in my house, has so many in the African-American community, the Lord comes first.
As my sister and I got older my mother stopped making us go to church, she’d ask us on any given Sunday and if we said no, it wasn’t an issue of course she responded with the guilty sounding ‘ok.’ and ‘breakfast better be on that table when I get home.’ And the moment we heard that I we were in our Sunday best waiting for 11 a.m. so we could go have breakfast it IHOP. And maybe you’re the parent now doing it to your children.
For those of you out there that can associate with me – you know how it feels. When it comes to church my mom pulls no punches. When she moved back to Alabama fifteen years ago I visited her at least twice a year (sadly she passed away in April) and as always every Sunday we were at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Demopolis, Alabama listening Pastor Phillip White take us on a journey with the Lord.
On a few occasions Pastor White invited me up to talk to the congregation about my travels especially my journey to Israel and Jerusalem. And I remember standing there in front of all the people talking about it but the truth is Jerusalem is indescribable, like so many other places in this world, it is also magical and it is necessary because it is where this life all began. It is a rare place because every single one of us can be a part of it and it doesn’t matter your religion all are welcome in Jerusalem.
Sitting in the center of it all is Jerusalem’s ‘The Old City’. The city is divided into four quarters each one having the own religious importance – Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish Quarter – and inside is as fascinating as the outside. It is deeply religious and with each turn the amazement only grows. Like Jerusalem it is when you realize where you are is what makes it indescribable. (on a side note for those that visit one day, there are young men walking throughout the city selling red wrist bands that according to them have been blessed and for a small donation you can have one – if one does come up to you, keep walking).
Among them is the the Western Wall or the Kotel, is the most significant site in the world for the Jewish people. It is a place where all faiths may came and pray and believe that better is possible. And like Jerusalem it too is magical, indescribable and it is necessary for all of us that hope, pray and believe that better is possible.