We have spent the last couple of days setting up housekeeping including expanding our kitchen beyond the small frig that came with the room and getting a drying rack for clothes, as dryers are unheard of here. Laundry hangs everywhere all the time.
We also connected with the German organist and ELCA pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, a German-based parish that supports Lutheran congregations from around the world: English Arabic, Swedish, Finnish and others. I will sub for the German organist on Maundy Thursday on the organ (flat pedal board!) in the main church and for Ash Wednesday on the piano for the English congregation.
We were invited for dinner and a lecture at Tantur Ecumenical Center near Bethlehem on Tuesday night. We found out later that the ELCA pastor’s husband is in charge of that program! I have been interested in the program’s at Tantur for a while now and so look forward to finally seeing the compound.
We continue to walk long distances every day exploring new parts of the Old City. John managed to connect with an Ethiopian priest at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and find out about their Easter services; they begin at 7 pm Saturday and go through into Easter day.
Tomorrow, I hope to walk the Stations of the Cross with the Franciscans who walk it every Friday at 3 pm. Since we are living on the Via Dolorosa, way of the cross, we hear pilgrim groups from early in the morning on singing their way between stations.
With Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday, much of the country will shut down beginning at 2 pm on Friday and continuing through sundown on Saturday. We have to plan our grocery shopping in advance!
Slowly, we are settling into this place, focusing less on the work of living here and more on the life God has invited us to for this brief window. Shalom and good night.