Another day of much needed rain, but rain which stopped play, well, stopped prayer actually, for me anyway. A member of Christ Church had planned a Prayer Walk round the gates of the Old City this evening, but I wasn't sure whether I would make the distance (probably not) and the heavy rain and more thunder clinched the decision. I was sorry not to be there but sometimes we just have to be sensible.
Friday, 14th March
No Torah Study today as the Synagogue was to be prepared for Purim. I missed the group; although only a few of us, I find it really helpful to read the Torah portion for the week, and to hear it discussed by the members of the Synagogue and to hear their concerns about life at present here.
I spent time in the office and then returned to prepare for the special day, Shabbat, and the very special service to welcome Shabbat, and to start a new week with a clean slate, followed of course by erev Shabbat supper.
This reading from Mishkan T'filah is for savouring, meditating upon, and through it may you experience the peace of Shabbat.
Where has this week vanished!
Is it lost for ever?
Will I ever recover anything from it?
The joy of life, the unexpected victory,
the realized hope, the task accomplished?
Will I ever be able to banish the memory of pain,
the sting of defeat, the heaviness of boredom?
On this day let me keep for a while what must drift away.
On this day let me be free of the burdens that must return.
On this day, Shabbat, abide.
Help me to withdraw for a while
from the flight of time.
Contain the retreat of the hours and days
from the grasp of frantic life.
Let me learn to pause, if only for this day.
Let me find peace on this day.
Let me enter into a quiet world this day.
On this day, Shabbat, abide.
Whenever you read this, may you know the peace of Shabbat.
SATURDAY, 15TH MARCH
So here it is, Shabbat, the blanket of Divine peace enfolding all who long, all who yearn for this special relationship with Yah, one true God.
I paused in the peace of the day to attend the Hebrew worship at Christ Church, a combination of fun worship for Purim with the children dressed in all sorts of costumes, the girls as Queen Esther; they performed songs, played instruments, then went out for their own time, whilst the adults had readings from the Book of Esther and a sermon. Afterwards there was time for coffee and nibbles in the garden. Then walkabouts for me and eventually back to Ratisbonne.
SUNDAY, 16TH MARCH
Back to Christ Church again for 9.30 Eucharist, this has truly become my spiritual home in Jerusalem! Aaron preached and Owen celebrated. The Gospel was John 3:1-17 and Aaron's thinking was that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night because he worked during the day. I feel it's much more exciting to think that Nicodemus went at night because he couldn't sleep through longing to talk to Jesus. Whatever, it was a good service, beautiful worship music as always, then lunch in the cafe.
I spent the afternoon in the Coffee Shop with Lyn from America who was leaving Jerusalem next day for adventures in other parts of Israel. Very inspiring testimony and prayer ministry. Today was the King of King's worship at 5 p.m. in the Clal Building. I had been a couple of times and wasn't sure it was for me. It's a theatre setting, with band on stage, pretty upbeat music, etc. But because Lyn was leaving next day and she wanted to go, I went along with her and by chance we met up with Hildegard a member of the Wednesday Bible srudy group.. What a difference in tonight's worship from that of other times. It was beautiful and inspiring; the founder of King of Kings spoke about intercessional prayer in a most powerful way - it was such a blessing to be there. We had a photograph taken which Lyn posted on Facebook: a friend commented to me 'You look so happy' and, yes, I am happier than I have been for a long, long while.
A season is set for everything,
a time for every experience under heaven.
There comes a time in life when to get to where you have to go - if there are no doors or windows - you walk through a wall. (Bernard Malamud)
MONDAY, 17TH MARCH
The question today was whether we would have a Purim celebration, or St Patrick's Day - with a new Irish friend, Breda, it had to be St Patrick's Day - no Guinness or Jamiesons though, but a good glass of Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon. A lovely evening to which each of us contributed a dish and a good time was had by all.
who in your providence chose your servant Patrick
to be the apostle of the Irish people:
keep alive in us the fire of the faith he kindled
and strengthen us in our pilgrimage
towards the light of everlasting fire;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
TUESDAY, 18TH MARCH
Special day: office in the morning and then a trek up to the French Hospital for Incurable Diseases to join with the Ratisbonne seminarians for a service of Taize for the patients. A beautiful chapel and an inspiring time of worship. Afterwards some quick shopping and then another special celebratory meal to prepare - will this week go on getting better, probably not this must be the best. Words for a special occasion:
My God I thank You for my life, body and soul;
For my name, my gender, my way of thinking and speaking.
Help me realize that I am something new,
someone who never existed before,
someone original and unique in the world.
For if there had even been someone like me,
there would have been no need for me to exist.
What a birthday prayer!
WEDNESDAY, 19TH MARCH
Bible Study at Christ Church to start the day, then a quick snack and back to the office for a Skype with Murray. Will we ever get these fourteen applicants? How I wish I knew the answer to that question, but I go on in faith.