Today I went to the Western Wall (some of you will think of it as the wailing wall, but that isn’t what they call it now), walked the tunnels under the wall, went to the church where Peter denied Jesus, sang in the Church of St. Anne (one of only 3 buildings in Jerusalem that has never been destroyed), sang in the Upper Room, walked the Via Dolorosa and explored the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the place of the crucifixion and resurrection).
If I had to choose, I liked the singing parts best. The Via Dolorosa gets all the press, and I am glad we walked it, but it is a noisy, busy, – forgive me, but – smelly kind of a place. It is hard to fully enter into the experience of retracing the final steps of Christ with so much distraction around. But in the Church of St. Anne, we had a few minutes with only our group present. We sang Amazing Grace, the Doxology, Holy, Holy, Holy. And it was, in a word, beautiful.
A little while later, we gathered in the Upper Room. And while we were there we sang the chorus, “He is Lord.” I had to stop singing because of the tears streaming down my face. How wonderful to stand in the place of the Last Supper, one of the places where Jesus appeared to the disciples, the place where the Holy Spirit came upon the believers at Pentecost, the very birthplace of the church and sing out our belief. And this was before Doug shared with us that he came to Christ at a youth meeting, and when he accepted Jesus, the members of the youth group surrounded him and sang that very song.
Every day here I have thought “well, we won’t be able to beat that!” about whatever experience we’ve just had. And then, the next day comes and somehow I find that we have taken it up a notch, yet again.
I have been blessed beyond my ability to express during this trip. And having all of you who are reading this blog or following my posts on Facebook, along for the ride is part of that blessing.
I think the only quote I can share with you tonight is from The Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise in Luke:
…Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.
Luke 1:46-49 NLT