Here’s a reflection from pilgrim, Betsy Powell:

There is one sure fact in Jerusalem, the word conflict takes on a whole new meaning. Conflict is a way of life here. So much so, I do believe if conflict was eradicated the whole country would fall into some kind of stupor.

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There is conflict with each other. Every human being here is expected to firmly state who they are, where they come from, and what they believe in and how this guarantees them a space in Jerusalem.

There is conflict between religions. The specificity of some religions practiced in Jerusalem are stunning. This forces conflicts that are multi-layered as well as burdensome. Every person can point to a different group of believers and state the conflict their religious belief instigates. There are 750 Samaritans left who are convinced that they are the original religion, that the Jews broke off from them and created something new.

There is conflict between the sexes. Women, almost all, are second class citizens no matter what the sect, denomination or belief. The women have conflict within their own gender. If one of them steps out of line within their own custom, the other women shun them. This seems to be true of all faiths. Really, ladies?

Get the picture? Yet, with all this conflict, the center of the world is filled with prayer. Everyone is praying, citizens, refugees, pilgrims, tourists, everybody. It is palpable. Some days I feel as if I am in a cocoon of prayers, not of my own making. It is great; a safe space to begin my personal prayers, elevated by all this recognition by the masses, that spirituality, belief and love are a valid pursuit. Praise the Lord. If only the conflict could become one huge prayer. If only all could pray the universal prayer together.