Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Something missing ...

Where is the table? There has to be a table.”
There was no table, the room was completely empty.

The iconic painting of The last Supper - see the table?!

Imagine visiting Disneyland and not seeing Mickey Mouse, flying around the world to visit an authentic Irish pub to hear the Guinness has run out, find out people in Texas don't wear cowboy hats or take a trip to Lapland and see no snow?
It would be disappointing wouldn't it?

Now I didn't place all my hopes on seeing a table, I hadn't dreamed about it for years, this wasn't the main attraction of the trip. But still I expected it, and it wasn't there.
And I was disappointed, really disappointed – a lot more than I could have expected.

The sign to the Room of the Last Supper
(c) fifiheavey

It was a beautiful sunny day, we were inside the walls of Jerusalem. The walls were the same colour as the buildings, which matched the colour of the ground. There were so many buildings, so many laneways, so many people bustling. Without a guide we would have been lost.

But all of a sudden we were outside the room of The Last Supper (also known as The Lord's Supper, the Mystical Supper, the Cenacle and the Upper Room) it was here that according to Christian belief Jesus and his apostles had one of their final meals before his crucifixion. It is from this meal the Eucharist derives.
The Supper was a feast of the Jewish passover.
Supper - made up of food and drink needs a ....?

We waited outside the room for the large groups of tourists to pass through. I had the image in my mind – you know the one, long table with Jesus and the twelve apostles. I imagined a long mahogany worn down table with a long runner and candles. Obviously not the original – just a symbol.

Inside the Room of the Last Supper.
(C) fifiheavey
But the room was empty. As a result of arguments between the Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, the Jews and the Muslims each of the religions have a small symbol/carving/area. But aside from that the room is empty. Could they not have just agreed on a table?!
I did not know until the guide explained that the room is directly over the tomb of King David. That was a pleasant surprise. It helped to combat my disappointment – but only just.

The women's section of the Tomb of King David.
(c) fifiheavey
How can you have a supper without a table? Even when I explained my trip back home my family and friends had expected a table there. I understand that each of the religions have their own beliefs and are entitled to them, but it didn't suppress my disappointment.

Luckily the rest of Jerusalem made up for it – and the believed site of the crucifixion, the hill of cavalry, the tomb of the resurrection were all mind blowing.

As I stuff myself with Easter eggs this Bank Holiday Weekend, I will cast my mind back to Israel, to my amazing journey there.
Table or no table, even with all the conflict and the religious turmoil, Jerusalem is a special place, a spiritual destination no matter what you belief in.

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