a previous post from another blog about a precious journey to the Holy Land. That blog will be deleted and the memories too precious not to keep so being reposted here. :)
Mount of Olives, the Wailing Wall and Bethlehem... What a Day!
Two of us bought a Shofar on the tour thus far and decided to bring it with us to the Mount of Olives to give it a try! Although it's use has changed over the centuries, the premise is still the same: to get the attention of the people, to gather them for God's purposes and to declare praise and honour towards our Heavenly Father! (Just need a wee more practice though as the sound was not as strong as our tour guide's demonstration!) We then read from Psalm 122 over Jerusalem before we headed back down the hill towards the old city of Jerusalem preparing our hearts for the blessing and intercession for this city. By doing so, we grow. Blessing Israel, praying for its peace and for God's people to fully step into their destiny....we too change radically in the process.
After going through their security check point with friendly Israeli armed guards standing by, we were ready for our next faith adventure. Walking towards the Western Wall and given the freedom to approach what Judaism considers the most Holy and Sacred place for prayer-the Wailing Wall was thrilling and humbling at the same time. This proved to be another highlight for me (and others) for this tour thus far. Placing prayer notes from loved ones in the cracks of the walls was a tradition known to the Jewish people and by placing ours with theirs, it was another symbol of what we've come to know as being "Grafted into the vine" of God's people. Knowing I was "standing in the gap" representing families and generations alike with prayer is an honour. Likewise, standing for and with the fervent and faithful Jewish women in prayer for Israel and the nations is an honour and a privilege I would not have understood as deeply had we not had this opportunity to join with them in their holy hush. Sure, the men and women were separated with their own sections of the wall we were allowed to approach, but all the more to pray more intentionally for the restoration of all as men and women. We were both created in God's image (Genesis 1:27) and created to love, serve and pray side by side as 'one'. True, our world is far from that- but that didn't stop the faithful as mentioned throughout scripture to give up on the ideals of our Father's original intent. We believe Jesus came to restore all that was lost in the fall of mankind. An added 'bonus' after our "above ground" wailing wall experience, we were able to walk underground the rest of the Western Wall tunnels which was absolutely incredible!
En-route to Bethlehem, we had an unexpected surprise touring a Jewelry factory "Yvel". A unique place where immigrants to Israel (Primarily Ethiopian Jews) who needed a hand up while starting fresh in the Holy Land. By learning the language, job skills and a chance at thriving in the country... they sought out applicants who were then given the opportunity to apply for entrance, receive schooling and then guaranteed employment afterwards within the company. We may not have all walked away from there with a purchase, but we walked away with hearts filled with hope and optimism with what we witnessed there. Although pearls are their speciality and win prestigious awards each year, what touched us most is their dedication to people. They truly see each individual in their company as a treasured pearl of great value. We too should do the same:)
Last stop? Bethlehem! We visited the Church of the Nativity which is the oldest church being about over 1500 years old. Incredibly busy there as it's known as the "traditional" birth place where Jesus was born and the Church was built on top of it there. The next church nearby was the Church on Shepherds Field where we sang Christmas carols and read the passage in Luke 2 on the birth of Christ. We ended our time in Bethlehem looking at the picturesque view of a field where the Shepherds received a message from the angels proclaiming the "good news" of the Birth of Christ Jesus.
We ended our day with a lovely visit of an American couple stationed in Jerusalem living full time here serving both the Jewish and Christian communities. She helped our group understand more fully the reason why people, (particularly Christians) should honour, pray for and bless Israel. With what we've experienced thus far, we most definitely look forward to learning more and doing just that.
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.May there be peace within your walls, and security within your citadels." Psalm 122
- post by Jodi Kozan