Sunday, March 28, 2010

IDF to seal off West Bank for the duration of Passover - Haaretz - Israel News

Israel has closed the border between east and west Jerusalem for Passover.
IDF to seal off West Bank for the duration of Passover - Haaretz - Israel News

This effectively prohibits Christians from going into the old city for Easter. That's right folks. About 50,000 of the Christians living in the Holy Land are Palestinians and they live in the West Bank. And if you have family that lives in west Jerusalem, sorry - you can't be with them. It doesn't matter that you were born and raised in west Jerusalem, and your church is there - you can't go.

This a very confusing and complex part of the world. I don't claim to have a solution - I can't even claim to understand the problems. I just wish the holiest city in the Judeo-Christian world was open to all Jews and Christians during our most holy days.

As always, but especially this week. . .
I pray for Peace.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Rev in Jerusalem

There were two moments on our trip to the Holy Land that were very emotional for me. I've already spoken of how I was moved we stood in the waters of the Jordan River and remembered our baptism. The other time was when it was the Rev's turn to do the devotional. I got to hear the Rev preach in Jerusalem.

I had the role of reading the scripture but that also meant I was up front and couldn't back away to get a picture of the event. Well, Brian just sent me one of his shots. This is the one shot that I didn't get that I wanted of that trip. Thank you Brian.

We were at the site of the pool in Bethesda where Jesus healed the lame beggar. The theme of water and frustration and yet, the healing that could come out of that situation was not lost on the Rev. She told a story of a woman in our town whose home was destroyed by the flood waters. This lady had received money from FEMA to rebuild her home and had hired a contractor to do the work. Unfortunately that contractor quit coming after only a couple of days and she was very desperate when some youth from our church came to her door. They were canvassing in the flooded neighborhoods, looking for people who needed help. This lady couldn't believe that a group from a church she had never attended - that didn't know her at all - would be interested in assisting her. She was skeptical at first but agreed to let them assist her.

The Rev tells the story better than I but, to make this story short, we rebuilt her home and for the first time in her life, this lady allowed God into her heart. She was welcomed into our congregation and was baptized last fall.

Healing comes in many ways. I am reminded by these stories that it is my task as a Christian to share God's love whenever and wherever I can. Then stand back and leave the outcome to Him.

God's peace to you all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Great Night at TCR

The Rev and I joined up with our daughter and took in the Theater Cedar Rapids production of "The Producers" last night. It was great. We all agreed it was a wonderful night.

The Rev has been taking me to plays at TCR since we came to town so many years ago and we have always enjoyed the productions. I have always been amazed by the quality of the performances given that these are local people and we are a small town in the heartland.

This night was special because this is the first production in the refurbished theater. The Iowa Theater has been the home of TCR for many years now but it was destroyed during the flood. Unlike our local government, TCR decided to rebuild and return to the downtown. They did a beautiful job of rebuilding. The theater is gorgeous. They revamped the lobby area - keeping the original feel but modernizing it and making it more patron friendly. The seating in the theater appears to be smaller but there isn't a bad seat in the house, at least not on the main floor where we sat. Thanks TCR for coming back downtown.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Sea of Galilee

The sea of Galilee, the lake so important in Jesus' life. This is where he found the first of his disciples. This where he took the boat out into the water - away from shore - so he could preach to the crowd. This is where the story says he fed the multitudes with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread.

In all of our travels this was one site that we knew was real. This is the lake of the biblical stories. It hasn't moved - it hasn't even changed all that much. Though the boats are a little more modern, fishermen still go out each night and return in the morning with their catch.

We ate lunch at a fishing Kibbutz on the shores of this lake. The traditional fish of the lake is called St. Peter's fish. We know it in here as Tilapia. I grew up on a lake in Minnesota, and grew up eating fish. I wasn't going to pass on the opportunity to eat fresh fish from the Sea of Galilee. I didn't take a picture of my lunch but this picture gives you a very good idea what I was served. Several people at my table where put off by the whole fish presentation but I was familiar with this. This is how we ate Sunfish and Crappies when I was a kid. The fish was prepared in the traditional (I believe kosher, but I may be wrong on that) manner. Simply scaled, gutted and gilled. Grilled over the fire with only some seasoning. It was delicious.

I hope all of you will be able to enjoy lunch today.

And my grace at the table will include a prayer for