Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter In Iraq at Ur

Ur is the biblical birthplace of the Prophet Abraham. The remains of what is thought to be his home and the largest ziggurat in Iraq are there. Iraq in ancient times was known as Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization. It has many archeological sites that have biblical references.

A group of Army chaplains decided to hold a sunrise Easter mass at the site of Abraham’s home. It is probably the last time such a mass will take place, since the site is being returned to the Iraqis on May 13th. The service began with a sing- along of Christian music lead by four chaplains playing acoustic instruments. Chaplain Lockett from North Dakota led the mass from on top of one of the remaining walls of Abraham’s home. He gave a brief history of the site and told the story of Abraham before talking about Jesus Christ and Easter. Soldiers listened intently and prayed with their M16s slung over their shoulders.

After the service a group of soldiers went over to the ziggurat where Dave, an Iraqi, whose family has looked after the site for generations, gave them a tour. He is not looking forward to the turn over of authority, as he fears the Iraqis wont respect the site as much as the Americans do.

At the defact (mess hall), there was an Easter meal of Cornish hens and prime rib. I ate jellybeans and chocolate kisses that were wrapped in pastel colored tinfoil. No peeps, but there was a cake shaped like a cross with buttercream frosting and big pink roses.