My plan for today was to worship at Christ Church in the Old City at their 9.30 Eucharist. I had gone to this service once in July and it had been a great experience then, so it seemed a good idea to go back and to probably make it my regular place of worship whilst I'm here. I was not disappointed!
The preacher and celebrant was the Principal of the school, an Irishman on fire for the Lord. Coupled with the liturgy and the music, both of which were woven through with a Jewish flavour with parts in Hebrew, and then prayer ministry, the morning was all I needed to assure me that I am in the right place. You will know how much I enjoy music in worship, and the choice was lovely, some of it written by the pianist/vocalist in the music group who had her own CDs for sale after the service, about a dozen in all most of which she had written and performed herself - I shall be bringing some back with me! Again her music is very Jewish, a lot based on the Old Testament. To my surprise, when the service came to an end all too soon I realised it had been two hours and yet it seemed nothing like as long as that - now that's worship!
After the service Coffee was served outside in the courtyard so I was able to talk to some of the congregation, and then went to lunch at the restaurant with several members of the women's group and the Vicar's wife and they invited me to join their Bible study group on Wednesday mornings which I said I would when I'm free.
Christ Church is a complex with not just the church but also a guest house, restaurant, coffee shop, school, work room, museum, etc. and amongst other projects they work with the poor in the area, particularly Jews and Palestinians.
Later I again met, Rita, one of the people I'd had lunch with and we traveled down on the bus which was helpful because Rita gave me information about buying multiple bus tickets to save money, so that's on my list of things to do, take a trip to the Bus Station and sort out how to do that. I didn't know until Rita told me that when you buy a bus ticket for 7 shekels, it's valid for 90 mins on any bus route or train! I would have gone on buying a new one every time. .
That's what I call progress - a successful day in terms of contacts as well as beautiful spiritual worship. A great move forward too from sitting on a park bench yesterday thinking 'how can I do this?'! It's all about finding ways of meeting people and integrating, so far so good - I have been here less than a week!
I look forward now to tomorrow which is a special day for the Sisters of Sion, a celebration of the founding of the order by the Ratisbonne brothers in 1843 following a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared to Alphonse in Rome on 20th January, 1842 and so there's a special celebration at the convent at Ein Kerem a village just outside of Jerusalem. It will be a huge privilege to there for this, as well as an opportunity to meet again with the Sisters from Ecce Homo and the Ein Kerem congregation. More about that in the next entry.
Very soon I will add pictures - but they're not coming out too well at the moment, but I'm sure I can improve on them!