Day 5 - Sunday 26th October
It was never going to be a normal Sunday, but I had no idea how special it would be. The delightful sounds of sparrows in the Hibiscus Trees in Christ Church guest house courtyard gave way the 6am alarm call (yet another early start) as the sun rose over the Tower of David and streamed in the window. A quick breakfast enabled us to arrive at the West (Wailing) Wall of the Temple Mount after a short walk at the only time permitted for non – Muslims (7:30 – 8:30am). Although all now under Islamic control the 6 acre platform with much of the original stone pavement and its view of the whole city and Mount of Olives, enabled us to visualize the enormity of the temple in Jesus’ time and the many feet that had walked over it since.
It’s not every Sunday that morning communion is conducted in English and Hebrew, but an important reminder of where we are and our roots in Judaism. However, the first hymn was in English. A lovely mixture of traditional and modern, inspiring teaching and prayer, an emotional sharing of the peace followed by breaking bread and sharing wine in our Lords home city.
After lunch some walked the walls, some rested and some went to the Holocaust Museum. All of us were overwhelmed, horrified, yes, even frightened and ashamed of what we saw in that magnificent museum. Although I already new so much about the persecution of the Jewish nation in the 1930s and during the second World War, seeing it all in this place where we have been learning so much about the Jewish roots of our faith, helped it all to become so much more real and terrible – as if it had happened to my family.
“They came for the Communists. I wasn’t a Communist so I didn’t object.
They came for the Socialists. I wasn’t a Socialist so I didn’t object.
They came for the Jews. I wasn’t a Jew so I didn’t object.
When they came for me there was no one left to object.”
Martin Niemoller, German Pastor.
Perhaps that it is only right that now this evening we have shared a Messianic Passover meal together. Today we read the story of the origins of this meal, the first Passover when the Lord saved the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. A special meal with traditional food and wine shared together in peace here in Jerusalem. Surely, whilst we cannot forget what has happened to the Jewish people, and we must take some of the blame for that ourselves, surely there can be forgiveness and an opportunity to move forward in peace and harmony.
Shalom. The Peace of the Lord be with you.
Now some of them have gone to visit the Wailing Wall and the pavements under the Dome of the Rock. I have stayed home to sort out my suitcase and rest my swollen ankles.
It certainly was a very special day that will long live in the memory – if only we could make all Sundays so special.