Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day 7: Magnificat

This morning I woke up early and walked with Greg through the Old City. This morning, a business day for Arabs and Jews, the tiny streets were quiet. We walked the Via Dolorosa in reverse, starting at station VIII. I was stuck by several small groups of faithful, participating in the full Via Dolorosa so early in the morning. In the chapel where Jesus was given the cross, a group from Asia sang in their native tongue at Station II. It was powerful as I knelt and prayed.

A few hours later we worshiped at the Anglican Cathedral. The service was in English and Arabic. The organ roared to life and we sang in unison, using either English or Arabic text. The sound was thrilling. I am beginning to see why the Bishop Kafity loved this community so much. We learned, as many of already knew, that the Christian population had declined from 25% to 1.5% of the local population in the past few decades. The Anglican Church is committed to providing education to children and health care: education to form future leaders with the gifts of diversity and collaboration, and health care to care for the victims of the endless struggles for Palestinians, Arabs and Jews working to bring peace to this land.

Later in the day, we visited the cave where Elizabeth learned

she would conceive a child, where Mary came to visit her three months later, and where John the Baptist was born. In each place we found ourselves in silence and in awe of the history and “holy ground" on which we stood. Bringing it all home to us were two tributes to the great prayers: Elizabeth’s husband Zachariah spoke when he regained his voice: the Benedictus. 

And then Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat.

A powerful journey in the past, made real in the present as we prayed and allowed our hearts to be moved by God’s loving embrace.

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