Crusader. The word fills me with dread. My Christian heritage is built on a foundation of bones and blood - and not just the body and blood of Christ: Slavery in the Atlantic and the crusades in the Mediterranean.
Crusader church. It is hard to imagine mercenaries and murderers, rapists and ragamuffins building the church in which I worshipped today. I can only hope that the last thousand years of prayer have in the Abbey of Saint Mary of the Resurrection have included prayers of penitence on behalf of the Christians who brought such rage and violence to the Holy Land. The sisters and brothers in their respective monasteries have made this a beautiful church. The music - Latin Gregorian chants, French liturgy are breathtaking. And the grounds are exquisite.
The mosque next door brings me some comfort. The church and mosque share a wall. I like to think that one cannot fall - or be torn down - without the other.
Abu Gosh, the town in which this crusader church and it's neighbor mosque are famous for its music festivals during the Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Shavu'oth. And for its hummus which is a religion of its own. Abu Gosh is also built over Kiriyat Ye'arim, where David kept the Ark of the Covenant for 20 years. And some pilgrims believe Abu Gosh is the true site of Emmaus (and not the other three contenders).
The Ark of the Covenant, the monasteries, the music, the Israelite religious festivals and their contemporary Jewish celebrations, the mosque, the church and the hummus, this is a holy place.