I walked back to the old city, passing people of all religious traditions, and made my way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for more time there. When you first enter the church, there is the large stone believed to be the place where Jesus' body was anointed after he was taken down from the cross. People from all over the world kneel to kiss the stone or place objects on it for a blessing or place their bodies on it. There was a tiny baby lying on the stone when I first arrived with his/her mom's hand gently resting on the chest. The baby was dressed in all white and the mom was elegantly dressed in white with lots of jewels. A professional cameraman was capturing the moment. Many unlighted candles were all around the stone. Was it a baptism of a sort or a particular healing blessing or what? I don't really know and yet it was special. I spent some quiet time just wandering about the church that was filled with pilgrims speaking many languages. Our Christian traditions vary so widely in the ways we respond to the Holy.
I love walking the old city streets and continued doing that for a time and finally headed back to the Cathedral. I settled into my new room which is just off the courtyard of the guesthouse and later had dinner with one of my Australian classmates and a priest from CT who arrived last night to take next week's Jesus of Palestine course. It's a beautiful night with the gentle Jerusalem breeze that refreshes in the nighttime and early morning. A day of blessing and a night of blessing.