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.