Shabbat Shalom. It’s finally Friday!!
As was pointed out to us so kindly on Thursday before going to bed that this time next week we would all be on our way back to New York, and then back to our perspective home. After a few complaints and objections about this, we all went to bed and woke up to realize that we are leaving for Jerusalem and were so excited.
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, we were dropped off at the Damascus gate by our taxi driver, and then we entered. Damascus gate is one of the busiest foot gates into the Old City. Entering at around 10 AM was not too bad, but as we turned around a few hours later we got to push through the crowd. It was almost like being at home in Lancaster at the Green Dragon or even at Rices. So many people and well, so few places to go. So we continued to push our way up and out.
On Friday in Jerusalem we visited the Church of th Holy Sepulchre, where Christ is believed to have been crucified and then buried, as well as the Garden Tomb, which is a second site that it is believed that Christ is buried. As we were walking through these two sites, all I could think about was does it really matter? In reality, if it really mattered where Christ died and where he was buried, it would be some place, and we would know it. The fact is, that Christ was crucified, and he gave his life so that each and everyone of us can end up living in eternity with him forever.
Friday night, we spent in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and in Western Jerusalem. We arrived at the western wall just before sundown and the start of shabat. We quickly learned that no pictures were allowed on shabat, but no picture could do justice to what we saw. We saw thousands of Jewish people, some orthodox and some people not Jewish, but just observing, praying. There was so much energy inthat space, it is hard to place into words. I think what I will never forget is the wide range of Jewish people that come together to pray. They come every Friday to celebrate what God has done. Could you imagine if at Sundown on Saturday night when our “Sabbath” begins, if all the Mennonites in the area would go and pray together. Conservative and liberal, or make it even broader than Mennonites but Christians. Imagine what could be done.
This trip has opened my eyes to so many things. I have learned so much about myself, my world, and God. God is here in this place, and there are good things happening around us. As we go through this last week, just want to thank everyone for your prayers and pray that you continue to pray for us as we discern and discuss what we do now with the experiences and information that we have received by talking to people and exploring the world outisde of the United States.
Proverbs 16:3 says: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
We can not wait to share our experiences with all of you at home.