Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel. This is the second half of last week’s letter from our sis in Jerusalem. Thank you so much for reading and praying. Now here’s our sis . . .
(And (since I am going to bed now) here is the second part of the letter…which was really first)
May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed and encouraged. A dear local sister and I encouraged one another over the phone this afternoon, simply sharing what we were receiving from The Lord during our private times of devotion. She told me that she has been focusing on the Passover and Resurrection and shared some wonderful insights, one of which touched me deeply. She shared about the body, all gathered together around Jesus, at the ‘last supper’, the Passover seder, just before He laid down His life for us. She had thought about how close the disciples were that Peter could see how John was leaning on The Lord’s chest, (at the seder, all ‘lean’ together) right against His Heart, and how he could ask ‘Who is it, Lord’. Because He was right against The Lord’s heart he could hear immediately the answer. What a precious picture this was to me of ‘the body’; you and I and all of those who dine with Him, leaning on one another, sharing and caring about what HE has to say.
So it is Friday evening now and I am preparing for the shabat and thinking about this week. The days of the eating of the matzo between the first and last Pesach seder are called ‘col ha’moed’ and are ‘half holiday’. ‘Col’ means ‘all’ and ha’moed means ‘the appointed feast’ or ‘meeting’. They are days of rejoicing and joy here in the city of Jerusalem with many events. Schools are on vacation and so are government services and many small shops owned by the religious are also closed. People are actively ‘vacationing’ so most that remains open during these days are open ‘half-time’…except for restaurants that are ‘kosher for Passover’ (in other words, that are totally free from leaven). For the past few years most of the museums in the country have been free during this time (free admission for the country being donated by the banks) and it is fun to watch Israelis literally explore every inch of the country that they love…their own! Ofcourse…for those of us who ‘like our space’…this is a difficult season and EVERYTHING is crowded; museums, shops, nature reserves, roadways, restaurants, sidewalks, seaside, mountain trails, … not to mention the trains and buses! NOBODY is in their homes. Remember the word ‘belagan’? It applies here! Somewhere, mid holiday, there is the ‘blessing of the Cohanim’…the priestly blessing, which is given BY the descendents of the priestly tribe to the rest of the house of Israel, who gather at the Western Wall of the Temple in the Old City. This Passover it was on Thursday as the area in front of the wall filled up – the Cohanim covered with their prayer shawls, stretched out their hands over the crowd and recited the blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.” Since many people come into the city for this event, the streets and restaurants afterward are full to capacity! Since my husband and I needed to work all week, we met downtown to try to accomplish something on Thursday afternoon. What a mistake that was! My husband got off of the jammed train and walked, arriving at the same time as the train.
Also on Thursday, Catholics in particular celebrate ‘Holy Thursday’, so large crosses were mingled with the crowds. These are more pronounced today…on ‘Good Friday’, as many walk the Via Delarosa with large wooden crosses commemorating the walk to the crucifixion. At early morning prayer meeting today, Chuck pointed out something very interesting. In his own words
“This week’s prophetic portion is Ezekiel 37:1-4 – the vision of the valley of dry bones. This section is always read on the Shabbat during the Passover/Unleavened Bread week. What is most interesting is that this Shabbat during this Passover season is the Shabbat when Yeshua was in the grave. So in synagogues throughout the world, Jews are reading about the resurrection of the nation of Israel and the Church is waiting for the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection of Israel’s King Messiah, the world’s Savior Yeshua!
And my dear sisters and brothers…least I continue on and on and on…I will close this very fragmented letter…call it ‘bits and pieces’ – it may be ‘confusing’ but in a way that helps it catch the flavor of this VERY condensed season… moving on so quickly! I am too tired to tie it all together and polish it, so please accept what ever scrap of this offering that might encourage you. Believe me…it comes with LOVE! May the risen Lord bless you!
Lovingly, your sis