Monday, January 9, 2012

Jerusalem Overlook

Today we went on our Jerusalem Overlook field trip. We drove around to different parts around the outskirts of Jerusalem and looked in on it, noticing particular points of geography. We started out at Nabi Samwil, which is also close/at Gibeon. The site there has a large set of ruins; a Byzantine church was built upon the holy site, and then a Crusader church was built over it. The ruins were really neat, but the site of Gibeon had been a known holy site since Old Testament times. The coolest part of this field trip was that we could see these sights, and then pull out the scriptures and read about these sights that were were seeing. For instance, at Gibeon we read from 1 Kings 3:4 - "And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar." We read that, and though it sounds ridiculous, the simple statement of "that was a great high place" was able to really click in my head standing there on the hill. Because Gibeon is, itself, a high place. From there you can look over the West Bank as well as all of Jerusalem. It was so neat to be able to make even that small connection.

Group picture at Gibeon

From there we went to the Augusta Victoria Church, a Lutheran Church built by Kaiser Wilhem - one of three churches built by him in Jerusalem. This particular church was really beautiful. The basilica was incredibly ornate, and there were beautiful paintings all around. There were great acoustics in there, and we sang some of the more Lutheran hymns in the hymnbook, including A Mighty Fortress is our God. 

Augusta Victoria Church

We then went to a variety of other cool sites around Jerusalem, but my favorite was easily the Greek Orthodox Monastery. From that site, we could look out over Bethlehem. We then read some scriptures and sang Christmas carols. We got to the third verse of Angels We Have Heard on High - a song I've sung for years, and one I sung extensively while in Teen Tones - and I had a surreal experience. The third verse starts out, "Come to Bethlehem and see..." and all I could think was, "I did! I'm here! I came to Bethlehem!" That line made it sink in just a little bit more that I am, in fact, in Jerusalem. I know, obviously, that the song is referring to people at the time of Christ's birth. However, I felt like it still could apply to me today.

Group pic with Bethlehem in the background

Our first field trip was definitely a success. The combination of seeing sights, combined with reading the corresponding scriptures, and then singing hymns makes for a really powerful experience. 

Jerusalem Overlook

(All pictures taken from Dr. Hunstman's blog (so just copying a URL, not uploading and using bandwidth...), until I can get to Hebrew U to upload my own. Don't worry mom- I'm following all the rules. :)


  1. I sang "Angels we have heard on high" to Annie while I was doing her hair this morning, telling her your story. Speaking of hair, mine was so cute the other day, wish you could have seen it. Alas, one cute hair day among so many others . . .

    Glad to hear that you're following the rules; sorry if I'm a fuddy-duddy in being shocked that other people aren't following them.

    Bubba bought a 30 gig ipod after his disappeared. Tried to get him to buy an 80, but he found his for 55 bucks (I think). Not a bad deal.

    Having trouble with Slav, issues flaring up. Will take any and all prayers.

    Moving in goes slowly. Have the kitchen mostly done, bedroom is coming along. When you come home and want to make dinner for us, I'll have to give you a tour to show you where everything is!

    Sure do love your guts, Mom

  2. P.S. Love the photos, love seeing my confident girl out front.<3

  3. I just noticed that your hair is curled in the Church of the Redeemer. Yay, the power converter works! :-}

  4. Hi Sissy, this is Slava. I miss you soooo much. I learned the "Lime jello marshmellow cottage cheese surprise" song with Mom. It was fun. Love, Slavy (typed by Mommy)