A Travellerspoint blog

Our first Sunday

Worship and exploration

sunny

Off we went to St. Andrew’s in Ramallah this morning, leaving the bus in town and stopping for ice cream as we walked to church. Below, Jim and Cindy Lawler enjoy the seven flavors piled onto their cones.

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The church, built in 1888 is beautiful; beside the altar a stained glass window commemorates Jesus confounding the elders - here because Ramallah is the place at which Mary and Joseph realized that their son was not with them on their homeward journey. Jeff Verney read the first lesson. The second was James 3:1-12, reminding us of the power of the tongue. And it was so for together with us, the local congregation sang hymns and prayed prayers in Arabic and English, words bumping into each other, syllables not always having a place in the tune, and somehow it seemed like the Day of Pentecost when people spoke in other tongues and the multitude came together. ALL our voices praised God for the gifts we were given there. The Palestinians rejoiced at our presence, a sign that they are not alone but part of the mighty church of God. We rejoiced to see their strength inthe face of opposition, their hope in the face of daily disappointments, and their faith that God IS with them. When we return home praying for the church throughout the world, we will have this congregation in our hearts.

After a coffee hour at St. Andrew’s we had a splendid meal in an outdoor garden. (See the abundance on the braziers below.)[float=right]large_86ACC7F1-B24C-4855-8ECA-0EDC26A095C7.jpeg

. At the Shrine of the Book we were awed by the scroll of the book of Isaiah written in the first century BC, hidden in a jar, and unearthed in 1948. The text was small and hard to see and none of us reads Biblical Hebrew and yet the power of God’s word was overwhelming, a word that has continued to shape God’s people for the millennia after Isaiah spoke it.

Then back to St. George’s where we began the day sharing our hopes for this pilgrimage: to meet Jesus, to learn more of the tensions in this Holy Land, to find renewed faith, to connect with each other and to find music that can rise above division and misunderstanding and hold the world together in harmony and peace.

The parts of our day were somehow all focused by the letter of James. Our tongues were well sweetened, and we learned to listen for the voice of God in unfamiliar language. And we got a good laugh from the words on this coffeehouse CB43D0B6-93CA-47F2-80F0-810B480CAF9F.jpeg

Posted by HopeEakins 08:13 Archived in Israel

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