Hi everyone. How are you? Today was Palm Sunday here in Jerusalem (and for you where you are too I reckon). To backtrack a bit, On Friday, at the beginning of the Sabbath, I went for a long walk around the Old City of Jerusalem. To be honest, I felt a bit depressed after that. I went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and was having a hard time there. I don't mind being in big crowds (and my oh my was it crowded), but I just left there feeling like the wind was taken out of me. Most likely I was thinking too much, but it felt like few there may have been realizing where they were standing. Sure they knew it's the place where Jesus rose from the dead, but it felt more like people standing in line to just snap a picture, touch a rock, and then hurry off to the next place on the itinerary. Of course this is a big assumption on my part, but that was just how it felt. Still though, I was glad to have been there again. As I left, the Sabbath had begun and the streets were near empty. My heart was feeling a bit empty. During my walk home, I began asking God for forgiveness of my judgmental attitude there and for a glimpse of what He was doing in Jerusalem. My heart is for the Jewish (and Muslims too) people to know who their Messiah is and receive Him. I know my heart is a pebble in comparison to the mountain of how God feels about this.
As the Sabbath passed, the same question lingered in me. A friend here let me tag along to a church service in at Christ Church in the Old City. The sermon they gave was great at giving insight to how Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He didn't come in as a conquerer, but as a meek and mild King. This encouraged me to be more like Jesus in being patient, loving and compassionate. After the service, a group of us headed toward the base of the Mount of Olives for a Palm Sunday procession. A fellow photographer friend led the way to some sweet spots for photos to watch the parade go by in one of the gates to the Old City. I didn't know what exactly to expect, but I was in for a surprise. Slowly, a large crowd made it's way down the Mt. of Olives, following a large collection of flag bearers. Representatives of different countries and Christian denominations came through the gate singing "Hosanna in the Highest" in their own languages. It was a beautiful site to see. Soon my friend and I joined the rest of our group as they too passed by. We followed the procession to an area called the Pool of Bethesda (see John 5) and then into a large courtyard. There all the crowds began dancing in unison as an Arab Christian band played Hosanna songs in different languages. It was a beautiful site to get to see and the dancing reminded me of greek dancing and so I had to join in. Seeing Orthodox and Catholic Christians dancing alongside Protestants was an awesome site. It made me think this is how it's going to be when Jesus does return and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb takes place. In time...
I wish I could end the day there but there was a reality that hit. As we left the party, we walked through the Old City to go back home. As we were walking, I heard the Muslim call to prayer and it became a quick reminder that the real party isn't happening yet. There's work to be done. How do we witness to Muslims? How do we witness to Jewish people? How do we tell them about the Jesus that loves them? It dawned on me a while ago that the best way perhaps to share Jesus with people is to be like Jesus to them. Let the Holy Spirit work.