Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Cup of Friendship

There is nothing like a good cup of friendship. Warm and nourishing, something to put your hands around and embrace. This past week my cup was refilled with a fresh cup as a group from home came for their yearly mission to Israel.

The very first time I came to Israel was with this group called the Bridgeport Community Mission. The participants were from synagogues and the Jewish community in Bridgeport. Many now have become very good friends. If it wasn’t for them, instilling a love for this place, I might have not taken my sabbatical year here. Let’s face it, I could have chosen the Bahamas, a much more tranquil location to renew myself.

They showed me Israel through their eyes, and made sure that, as a Christian, I was able to visit places that were sacred to me. It was my pleasure to join them this past week on their yearly visit and it was my honor to host them one afternoon at my apartment for a cup of friendship.

Ahh, pour me another cup.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You can capture the image.... But not the spirit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

They're Killin' Me Man..

Really. Helllllp! It’s been hot the last couple of days and very dry. I’m not used to temperatures in March, in the 80’s. That, coupled with blue skies and dry, arid, VERY dry atmosphere, well, I’m dying.

And then, when I woke up this morning, when, what to my wondering, parched eyes did appear – not tiny reindeer but yet another dust toting khamsin. It wasn’t as bad as the one last week, but oppressive in its own right by my New England standards.

My skin is dried out, my nasal passages barren. My shriveled lips can barely mold themselves around the cap of my water bottle. So close yet so far from any mode of rehydration.

Then, if just being outside wasn’t enough, I boarded Egged bus #19 for classes at the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. No air conditioning, in fact no air moving whatsoever. I know they have AC, I’ve experienced it before. But what about NOW when I really need it??

People’s heads were dozing and dropping. Haredi woman just looked straight ahead with a non-descript glaze over their eyes. Haredi men, with their black overcoats and black hats, just boarded the bus and stood. When I disembarked at the Hebrew University, went through security, got to my classroom, I had already drank two bottles of water. Then, a two and a half hour lecture.

They’re killin’ me man, I mean killin’ me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

For Such a Time as This

The 14th of Adar on the Jewish calendar and the merrymakers are out. Purim was this weekend. It's a celebration for Jews when the Megillah or scroll of Esther is read.

After the destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the people are taken into Babylonian captivity Hamen (boo, hiss) plotted to kill all of the Jews in ancient Persia. Mordechai tells Queen Esther, "Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this." Esther tells the king about the plot and she saves the Jews.

All over Jerusalem there was partymaking. But lest you think that this is just a dress up occasion, it's not. Jews are to read the whole Megillah (sorry I couldn't resist!) and give tzadaka, charity. All day on Saturday I heard music coming from the local yeshiva. In the streets were groups of music makers and lots of people dressed up. Little girls were dressed as Queen Esther and boys, the king and Mordechai. Even the adults dressed up.

Chag Sameakh!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunrise Over Jerusalem

Jesus Christ is ris'n today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia! At 5:15 am the member of the English speaking congregation met on the top of the
Mount of Olives for Easter Sunrise.
Lights are still on in the Jordan River Valley. We are facing east, Jerusalem is behind us.
The sun is almost visible over Jordan.

The evening haze is beginning to wear off. The sliver of silver below the furthest mountain range is the tip of the Dead Sea.
The landscape is doted with Olive trees.
The sky is turning pink.

A pink sky revealing the dawning of the sun.

Celebrating Holy Communion
Musicians of the day accompanying us as we sang "Jesus Christ is Risen Today"
and "Thine is the Glory."

Easter breakfast at the home of the Brown's at the Lutheran World Federation.
Most of us were seated on the grounds which overlooked Jerusalem.
On the way home I stopped at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Latin Church is celebrating Holy Communion in front of the tomb.
May the joy of Easter and the hope and gift of new life bless us all today and every day!
Christ is Risen! He is rise indeed!
Al-Masih Qam - Hakkan Qam!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday

By your holy cross you have redeemed us

"Jesus cried, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?' that is, 'My God, My God' why hast Thou forsaken Me? once more, uttering a loud cry, Jesus gave up his spirit." Matthew 27:50

"When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth.......

...and laid it in his own tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away." Matthew 27:57-59

"Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb." Matthew 27:61