Sunday, January 8th
Today was a real highlight for me. Worship at Bethlehem’s Christmas Lutheran Church was beautiful and touching. There were many cultures gathered together and songs were song in Arabic. English was provided for some of the service. It was wonderful to know that the readings we were hearing that morning were the same readings that LoC would be reading many hours later. After the church service we were able to meet with Bishop Azar and learn about the work that they are doing in Palestine in ministries to help families receive food and shelter. He also discussed the work that has been done for gender equality. His daughter, Sally, who will be ordained in two weeks will become the first female pastor in the Lutheran Church of Jordan and Holy Land.
Outside the Evangelical Lutheran Church
Inside the Evangelical Lutheran Church
Grand Canyon Synod Bishop Deborah Hutterer with Bishop Azar
We also visited Old Jerusalem where we were able to see and touch the Wailing Wall. Tradition has it that this is part of the western wall of the Temple. This wall is the only part left of what was the Temple built by those who returned from exile after the Babylonian Captivity. (circa 520 BCE) There were many people there practicing prayers and writing prayers before going up to the wall. The prayers that were written were then rolled up and placed in the cracks of the wall. For the people of the Jewish Faith this is the holiest of places. It was a remarkable place to visit and to place my hand with prayers on the wall.
The Wailing Wall (Female Side)