Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Church of all Nations- Jerusalem

(Re- posting some pictures this holiday season with information from our trip to Israel................longing to go back to a place that I feel is truly a part of me);

The Catholic church enshrines a section of stone in the Garden of Gethsemane that is believed to be where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest (Matthew 26:36).
Inside, the symbols of each country that contributed to the church are incorporated into the inlaid gold ceilings of each of 12 cupolas. The 12 cupolas rest on six monolithic pillars.

The domed roof, thick pillars, and floor mosaic give the church a Byzantine appearance

The front of the church features a colorful facade supported by a row of pillars. The mosaic above the entrance depicts Christ as the link between God and humanity

The Church of All Nations, officially named the Basilica of the Agony, is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem next to the Garden of Gethsemane. 
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

--Matthew 26:36-39


The modern church stands on the foundations of two ancient churches: a 4th-century Byzantine basilica, destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and a 12th-century Crusader chapel, which was abandoned in 1345.
The Basilica of the Agony was built from 1919-24 with funding from 12 different countries, which gave it its nickname: "the Church of All Nations."


The architect of the building was Antonio Barluzzi, who also designed the nearby Dominus Flevit Church.

The basilica's three aisles culminate in three apses at the east end, which are decorated with mosaics depicting biblical events in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the center, the high altar overlooks a large slab of rock, which is said to be the very rock on which Jesus prayed in agony on the night of his betrayal.
The Church of All Nations is run by the Franciscans, but an open altar in the garden is used by the Anglican community on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday).

all of grace,

"God with us"

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel-
which means, God with us."  Matthew 1:22-23

God with us-
One of God's promises to us- is that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

Clarence lay there in his ICU bed, dying. There was nothing more that we- the medical team could do. His family was on their way. We were not sure if they would make it in time. I wish that I could say that he was not in pain, but he was. I wish that I could say that his death was peaceful, but it wasn't.
He did suffer before the end. At one point- the turning  point of the end- I looked straight into his eyes and said- You are very sick and there is nothing more that we can do. Clarence, you are dying. After a brief silence, I asked him if he knew Jesus.  He quickly said yes- he changed after that point. No more did he cry out just in pain- he cried out for Jesus. Begging Jesus to help him.
As the end came closer- several of us had gathered around the bed- his family still not there yet. He begin to say over and over again- God is with me.... God is with me.... I silently prayed for him- asking God to forgive any sins that he may have and to be with him and keep him comfortable.  Over and Over.... " God is with me".
I felt God in his room- I felt- protected- like we were in a glass bubble- one that could never pop. It is hard to explain, unless you have been with someone dying. He was dying, but only to live in eternity with our savior.
Clarence- you are going to be spending Christmas with Jesus this year. The one who made it possible for all of us. There was a peace in that room at that  moment. A peace a calmness. His nurse cradled his head in her arms. Minutes before he took his last breath, his family arrived. They were able to be with him for his last minutes on this earth. There was not a dry eye in the room.
We were in the room as his soul left his earthly body and rose to be with our king. His last words on this earth were... God is with me.   I thought about the word- Immanuel- God with us. He came over 2000 years ago to be with us and he is keeping his promise- as Clarence said just minutes before taking his last breath- God is with me.
In His Service,