It has been an interesting weekend. It began on Saturday with an organ and alphorn concert at the Abbey of the Dormition:
In addition to the concert, repeated two more times during the festival, the Franciscans were cooking brats (the best we have eaten in a long time) and selling “waffles,” a crepe-like circle of hearts, and beer. (These are German monks, after all.) At the used book fair, I found a copy in English of John Wilkinson’s “Egeria’s Travels” for 5 NIS (approx. $1.36). (Most of the other books were “auf Deutsch.”)
We then wandered over to the King David Hotel and YMCA, both famous landmarks, and read English newspapers. Lord, in your mercy…
This morning, we attended church at the Lutheran church of the Redeemer. While the Arabic-speaking Lutherans meet at 9 AM in the main Sanctuary, the English-speaking Lutherans meet at 9 AM in the St. John’s chapel. The chapel only has a piano whereas the main Sanctuary has an organ, the one I am practicing on several days a week. The service had about 100 people in it, some visitors from all over the world, some part of a more regular congregation of expats often associated with embassies or Tantur. The joke is “you come twice, you are a member; you come three times and you are put on church council.”
During the Lord’s Prayer, everyone was invited to pray in their mother tongue and it was a “Pentecost” moment, indeed! Also, during the children’s sermon, the pastor was trying to help the kids understand Transfiguration Sunday and the burying of the Alleluias with Lent starting on Wednesday. She asked them why we stopped saying Alleluia until Easter, leading them with the question, “and what comes before Easter?” One kid answered “Passover!” I wondered if the kids in Boulder would have thought of that answer on their way to the correct answer of “Lent.” The Baptismal font and Communion ware were Palestinian pottery pieces and the bread was pita.
After church, they had a fellowship time serving black tea with fresh sage leaves in it (if you wanted to add them, which I did–delicious). Many may not realize that the Lutheran Bishop for the Holy Land and Jordan is a Palestinian. He has been in Italy so I have not met him but may have a chance sometime in the days ahead.
We have spent the afternoon moseying the Mamila area outside the walls, that includes a ritzy shopping area and artist colony, as well as more exploring of streets within the Old City. It really is a maze in here!
Some of you have asked me what a typical day is like. I can tell you what we have been doing so far: we get up and spend a couple of hours showering, cooking breakfast in our room, reading e-mails, and doing devotional reading. Then, we head off for me to practice for an hour or so. After that, we either do our market shopping for food and other necessities or we go exploring. We buy a bigger lunch while out, usually wonderful falafel sandwiches or kebobs, getting enough for both of us to be quite full on for a total of 16-20 NIS (one shekel = .27). In the evenings, we do laundry in the sink, if needed, so as to get it out on the drying rack to drip over night and be ready for the sun to hit it in the morning. We eat hummus and bread with Dead Sea salt and za’atar dipped in Zvat olive oil, fruit, including the freshest dates we have ever tasted, wine or Israeli beer, labaneh on crackers, and/or chocolate: staples we have in our “pantry” in the room. We read aloud from a book by David Roberts, “The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest” and we each have reading, research, and writing projects we work on.
So far, it is a good rhythm for us. Shalom and good night.