Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday and the Tabernacle

I was supposed to post this yesterday. Of course it was a self-imposed "supposed" because now I'm getting all out of order, but I really, REALLY wanted to post this at 3 on Friday. You'll see why in a bit.

We went to see a life sized replica of the tabernacle of those desert wandering Israelites. It was in the middle of the Negev. And it was raining. We were in on the one inch they get a year. Aren't we special?

It was considerably smaller than I'd imagined. As were most things in Israel besides the Temple--which I only saw in miniature--but the proportions were spectacular. Here I am standing, inappropriately dressed (it was the theme of the week) before the Bronze Altar.
Here is our temporary guide at the bronze laver. She asked us before we went in if we wanted the Old Testament tour or the New Testament tour. We asked for the "both" tour. She lit up like a Christmas tree and began one of my favorite tours of the weeks. She walked us through the tabernacle and gave the entire story with a Hebrew accent of how the tabernacle points directly to Y'shua. (Goodness, I hope I spelled that correctly.) She would have nothing to do with the name Jesus. "Is He American?" She asked. "No? English? No? So what was his name?Y'shua." She is a beautiful woman.
The table of showbread. I don't remember the significance. Study Hebrews 9. It's next on my list. I also hope against hope that Spence videoed the entire tour because I want to show it to everyone I know.
The lampstand.
The Altar of Incense.
Creepy blue-eyed mannequin dressed as the high priest complete with breastplate.
The Ark of the Covenant.
With the ten commandments, Aaron's staff and the jar of manna inside.
Me, crying. And why? I'll get to that in a minute.

This is a shot within the Holy Place. Those navy striped curtains in front of you are the entrance to the Most  Holy Place.

I don't know about you, but when I've read the cricifixion story, or heard it told, the versions go something like, "All our sins were piled on Jesus, and God could no longer look on him because he was so ugly to God with all our sins on him" thus the reason that Jesus said, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" 

And, frankly, I have always been bothered by that. How cold. How unfeeling. I mean, this was HIS SON. I can imagine looking away because you can't stand the sight of the suffering of your child, though I find that when my children are suffering is when I'm most likely to look on them. I cry with them. I lock eyes with them and hope that by sheer force of will I can make the pain go away with my earnest stare. (I look away from the wound. I can't stand that.)

I've decided, in all my wisdom (that IS tongue in cheek), that Jesus, like most humans, cried out to God, feeling forsaken more than being truly forsaken, but that's just me. Although being the sacrifice for a bunch of ungrateful humans seems rather forsaken, I suppose.

So our guide says, while indicating the curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place and talking about how thick it was in the Temple, etc., "And the Bible says that it was torn in two from top to bottom. Why was that?"

We, good Christians, gave the good Christian answers. God opened himself up to us, He is no longer separated from us, Jesus is the door way to God, yadda yadda yadda. You know, all those things you are taught in Sunday School, right? And like a good Sunday School teacher she says, "yes," and "uh, huh," and "What else?" 

And THEN she says, "What do Jewish parents do when their children die?"

Oh. My. Blessed. Risen. Savior.

The tear their clothes from top to bottom. My God, my "unfeeling" "uncaring" "cold" Father in Heaven MOURNED His Son. He ripped his clothes from top to bottom.

Yes, to give us access to him.
Yes, to indicate Jesus is the pathway.
AND to show His grief. He ripped his clothing right in two.

Oh, Sweet Jesus.

I cried for hours. My God is not an unfeeling Father. He loves His son. And by allowing His Son to be OUR sacrifice, how much does He love us? 

That's just amazing.

And I'll sign off in the same way our guide sent us off, but I'll give the English because I don't know Hebrew. But let me tell you, it is Beautiful.

"The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24

I highly recommend you go here and listen to it in Hebrew. And here to read about how the LORD delights in us as a father. And that page gives more on the blessing as well. 

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

But more on THAT tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you, even you had only known on this day what would bring you peace--

The old city.
 but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Mount of Olives
Dome of the Rock
 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build and embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
More old city.
 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.

synagogues, temples, shrines chapels, mosques all crammed together
 They will not leave one stone on another,
part of the "new" city
 Because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.'"
I probably knew when I took it.
 Luke 19: 41-44 (Jesus speaking)

Muslim tower for calls to prayer

Jerusalem, how I love it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The First, But Not Only, Time We Cross the Desert

 The last we'll see of the Sea of Galilee. *sniff*
 Driving along the Israel/Jordan border. Razor wire. Imagine that. Lots and lots of razor wire.
 And then.....desert.
 Camels! In the desert! *gasp*
 And....more.....desert. the desert. Man made, I'm sure.
 Bedouin the desert.
 Bedouin herding sheep and the desert.
 Crossing out of the West Bank. Why yes, we did. What you aren't seeing? Razor wire and Uzis.
And finally....Jerusalem.

The desert really is gorgeous in its own way.

But Jerusalem is better.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Jordan

 Otters. And enormous carp. And freezing cold green water. Which of these things did YOU think of when you pictured the Jordan river. Did you picture lots of trees? How big was it? Did it look like this?
 I know! It could totally be in Missouri. And this, as far as I can tell, is it's WIDEST point. To be honest, I expected a wide, shallow river in the middle of the desert. And I suppose at it's Southern point it was in the desert, but it wasn't in the sand, because, of course, it is water and things grow near the water.
 These are my friends. They got baptized with me. I can see a few got cut off. It doesn't make them any less important. If you got baptized, there is a very good chance I have photos of you dripping wet. Let me know if you want me to email you a copy. I didn't think it very nice of me to post drippy pictures without permission. I'm taking a risk posting Brent and Pastor.
 I've been redeemed! (I've been redeemed!) By the blood of the Lamb (By the blood of the Lamb)
 I've been redeemed! (I've been redeemed!) By the blood of the Lamb!
how cool is it that Brent helped baptize me?
 I've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, filled with the Holy Ghost I am! All my sins are washed away, I've been redeemed!
 And that's not all (And that's not all). There's more besides (There's more besides).
 And that's not all (And that's not all) There's more besides
 And that's not all there's more besides, I've been to the river and I've been baptized, all my sins are washed away I've been redeemed!
Spur of the moment, Pastor got baptized, too.

 They had the baptism of Jesus story posted in every conceivable language. Including Hawaiian Pidgin, which cracked me up enough to justify it's own photo. We also have them in Hebrew, Aramaic, Chinese, Italian, etc..

You know? It may look corny. The robes, the fence to keep the carp out, everything commercialized.

It was just pretty darn cool.

As Princess said, "What an opportunity."

I agree.

Because Everyone Should Get to Fully Experience a Sea of Galilee Sunrise