Yesterday was our second Shabbat in the land. It started out peaceful but things got a little hairy in the latter part of the day, though the evening was ended well.
We joined my friend, Proclaim Liberty’s kehilot (congregation) Ro’eh Yisrael. It was wonderful getting to meet an internet friend and brother in Messiah. The congregation was loving and helpful. We met someone who is the spitting image of Jerry Sabin. Another gentleman looked a lot like Antonio who sings at our congregation. We also met a gentleman who was very helpful calling out page numbers in the siddur. (Several of us were visitors – two ladies were our roommates at the hostel. Being very careful not to tell anyone the locataion of PL’s congregation, I was surprised there were so many visitors.)
Having been raised a Catholic and then a member of an Episcopal church, I was very comfortable with the standing, sitting, bending, bowing, and praying using what the Episcopalians call a book of comman prayer. The entire service was in Hebrew. PL said he hoped I could keep up, and thanks to Rabbi Matthew’s Hebrew class, I could. The siddur was in Hebrew and English, so of course that helped. And between PL and our new friend calling out page numbers, we were in the general area. But many times I wasn’t sure where we were on the page, when I would recognize a word and be able to zoom in to the right place.
The teaching by Joe on the patience of Hillel was a great lesson. (He accompanied by an interpreter.) The service ended with communion followed by coffee and cake. It was nice mingling with believers from another country, or should I say several countries. It was also nice to join in some of the prayers that are familiar because we say them at TAK.
After the service, we walked the short 12 minute walk to our hostel to change, then headed into the old city for lunch (at our old place – one of the brothers was happy to see us.) There are a lot of terrorist attacks going on in some areas of the old city (near Damascus and Lion’s gates.) After the first one, we’ve avoided these areas. But today Maria wanted to walk the Via Delarosa, though that’s not really the path Yeshua took, though could be the general area.
We stopped to ask the tourist information if it was safe. She said it was safe inside the old city but not outside. (We are staying outside the Jaffa Gate which isn’t far from the Jewish Quarter, on the other side of the Old City.) So we headed toward the Pool of Bethseda, which is the actual pool. On the way, police went running by – heading in the same direction we were going. I wasn’t feeling all warm and fuzzy about what we were doing, and tried to talk Maria into abandoning this plan. She was determined and we ended up at the pool after waiting while the police arrested a man. What concerned me was the rest of the onlookers. There weren’t any other tourists, but there were lots of gunshots, explosions, and yelling from just outside the gate.
I felt a lot better once we were inside the pool complex. There we spoke to two priests of St. Anne’s. We then looked at the ruins and prayed, all the while the noise of terror filled our ears. I went into the church, which is known for it’s acoustics, and sang Sue Samuel’s rendition of “Oseh Shalom”. I spent some time praying for Jerusalem, and the safety of it’s residents and service people. I also prayed for those answering the Muslim call, that they would instead hear the call of Messiah and answer that life giving call.
Things quieted down, and we headed out, but by this time the other stops on the way were closed, so we headed for the Western Wall Plaza. After about an hour, I went to the adjoining plaza – Azaret Israel Plaza. I’ve mentioned this plaza before, and it’s my favorite. It is part of the second temple ruins. I sit across from Wilson’s Arch, which is the one of the old entrances to the temple mount (in the time of Yeshua.) Few people know about or use this plaza, so it’s very peaceful. One of the guards recognized me and greeted me warmly.
I plugged in my earphones with the intent of listening to TAK’s worship via live stream, but couldn’t get it to come up. So instead, I put on some Paul Wilbur worship and worshipped the Lord. (No, I didn’t sing out loud, but joined in with my spirit and my mind.)
When I unplugged my ears, the sound that filled the air was more explosions, gunfire and yelling. I sat and prayed. After a while it stopped and I headed up the stairs to see where Maria was. She was at the top of the stairs. We spoke with the guards, who were both believers, then headed home with a quick stop at our favorite restaurant for a pastry to eat on the way.
Our second Shabbat was not as physical as our first, but not quite as restful as Shabbat should be. And I think about the stress level the Jewish inhabitants experience on a daily basis and all the more am aware of the need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Please join me today and every day, praying for God’s people who are living in the God’s land.
It is God’s land, and he gives it to whomever he chooses. And long ago he promised it to Abraham and his descendants. And God’s promises are true.
Today we head to Shiloh to meet with former mayor David Rubin, who is taking us around. We are also bringing him the financial gift from TAK Connections. Please pray for our safety and the safety of the inhabitants of Shiloh.