Israel during Lent – Day 2

DAY TWO! Arrival Moscow 8:00 am-ish Moscow time. Immediately boarded a another big but smaller Aeroflot plane for Tel Aviv. Add it all up plus getting to JFK and that means a lot of tired but really excited pilgrims who clapped when our plane landed in Tel Aviv around 11:30 local time. Everything’s In Hebrew! Go figure! First stop, Jaffa, the Biblical Joppa where Jonah boarded a boat to Spain to escape God. Many of us were reminded of how we do the same only to be yanked back in by God’s kind but painful mercies. Others of us, recalling Jonah’s hatred of his enemies were challenged how we want our enemies to “get theirs” Others of us recalled Peter raising Dorcas from the dead and how it blew Peter’s mind that a non Jewish, uncircumcised, Roman Soldier working for Israel’s oppressors and who may have had no clue about Jesus was nevertheless declared acceptable to God and was baptized by the Holy Spirit even before “praying the sinners prayer"! It was so so interesting to observe Jews, Christians, Muslims and so many others from diverse backgrounds happily mingling in a country that is the flashpoint of seemingly irreconcilable differences. It is also Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, where outside of Jaffa (ancient Joppa) almost no one was working. Much of Israel shuts down sundown Friday to sundown Sat. Their work week begins Sunday! How well do YOU honor the Sabbath! Some think the 4th commandment is really the most important! Our tour guide is great. He made a really, really funny and really, really not funny joke when he referred to Purim (celebrating the foiled attempted genocide of the Jews recorded in Esther). He said something like “we Jews have all these holidays and so many are about the world trying to kill us. So we just say ‘they keep trying to kill us so let’s eat. (OK it doesn’t sound funny here but it was - sometimes is incredibly profound) One of us was in tears today as she recalled her dad having given her a Bible from Israel and here she was decades later in Israel with the Bible he gave her. Neither she nor the other 45 of us will need to say with the Jews this Passover “Next year Jerusalem!” We’re here! Thanks Pastors Bob and Stacy for making this happen! Hope you can tolerate the typos!
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