Friday, May 30, 2014

The Streets of Jerusalem

A street might be empty - 
waiting for those passing by...
Stairs heading to a new level -
Then the hustle and bustle of street vendors-
fruit and vegetables
the stream of voices
A myriad of people - 
Running errands or off to work
Or finding a spot to just rest a bit
A typical store cubicle-
 you might find just about anything here
Wonderful fresh breads -
And everywhere-
 groups of people listening to a tour leader-
 trying to make sense of
 EVERYTHING they have seen.
Sunrise in Jerusalem from the Dan Hotel.
Another day dawns in the Golden City.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nissan Brothers- New Store Bethlehem

Olive wood drying to be used
 to make olive Wood products. 
These items serve as one of the main
 business staples
for the Christians left in Bethlehem. 

Some olive wood products
 have hand carved finishes.
 These will cost more money
because of the time involved
 and the skill level needed.

Some  figures are turned by machine
 and then touches are added.

Check out their website for items
 made and produced in Bethlehem.
Supporting the Christian Community in

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem

Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church-
in Bethlehem
(a member church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
 in Jordan and the Holy Land, or ELCJHL)

Psalm 51:17 -
 in German on the pipe organ

Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, is a Palestinian Christian, 
the pastor of Christmas Church
 and the founder and president of the Diyar Consortium,
 a group of Lutheran-based, 
ecumenically-oriented institutions
 serving the Bethlehem area.
The International Center of Bethlehem-

 (Dar Annadwa Addawliyya)

the house of Worldwide Encounter
 is located in Madbasseh Square,
 in central Bethlehem.
This is housed at Christmas Lutheran Church.
The ICB has programs that serve the entire community
 from "the womb to the tomb", 
with an emphasis on children, youth and women. 
They have an ambitious mission. They work to equip
 the local community to assume a proactive role
 in shaping their future- it is the heart of their work. 
They desire to develop human resources, 
cultivate artistic talents,
 facilitate intercultural encounters,
 and to actively promote
 the building of Palestinian civil society.
Bethlehem - still dressed with lights from the Christmas celebrations in late January.

Street of Bethlehem

The Christmas Church complex also has
 Dar al-Kalima Evangelical Lutheran School
 which was founded in 2000.
 The school is co-educational from K-12
 and has an  enrollment of 309 students for 2013-2014.
The diverse enrollment has 40% girls and 60% boys,
 and 34% Christian and 66% Muslim students,
 taught by 30 full time and part time teachers.
Perhaps these are students
are served in the Lutheran School
in the city of Bethlehem-
where Jesus was born, and where 
Christians continue to serve to 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Church of the Shepherds and Field- Bethlehem

Church of the Shepherds
When you visit Bethlehem you will want to travel
 a short distance east to the 
Christian village of Beit Sahour. 
Here is perhaps where the Shepherd's Field
 is located as spoken of in the Biblical account
 of the appearance of the angels to the shepherds.
These beautiful paintings are in the
 Church of the Shepherds located here.

This Roman Catholic chapel 
was built by the Franciscans 
over the cave show in an earlier post.
The Bethlehem Cave

The Chapel was designed
 by Italian Antonio  Barluzzi     
to resemble a shepherd's tent.
The dodecagonal shape with five apses
 has an inclined plane, 
that looks like a field tent
 used by shepherds at that time.
The Light that penetrates
 the concrete and glass dome,
 illuminating the center
 reminds one of the divine light
 that appeared to the shepherds.

The surrounding hillsides
 where the shepherds tended their flocks.
The flat brown field is known as Ruth's Field- 
or the field of Boaz from the Old Testament story in 
Ruth 2:1-17.

It was amazing to gain this perspective-
 that you could see the story of Ruth,
 right where the Shepherds were,
 and where Jesus was born.
Really-- the Old Testament
 and New Testament tied together.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Chapel of St. Jerome's - Bethlehem

St. Catherine's- A Roman Catholic Church
 in Bethlehem
 serves as the access to the cave of St. Jerome.
From a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity,
 came the most enduring version
 of the Bible ever translated.
In this underground  study, 
which was very pleasant in the summer
 and quite cold in the winter,
St. Jerome spent 30 years here translating
 the Bible from
Hebrew and Greek into Latin.
The scholarly Dalmatian priest began his task
 around 386 AD. The text he produced in St. Jerome's Cave
 was the first official vernacular version of the Bible. 
Known as the VULGATE, 
it remained the authoritative version
 for Catholics until the 20th century. 
Some historians believe this version was heard
 by more Christians that any other.
St. Jerome - also known as Hieronymus, 
(the Latin version of Jerome), spent more that 36 years 
in the Holy Land. 
He was well know for his ascetic lifestyle
 and his passionate participation
 in doctrinal controversies.
Mosaic in the Chapel of St. Jerome

Jerome died in 420.
 His body was later transferred to Constantinople
 and then to Rome, where his bones rest today
 in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
In front of St. Catherine's, his statue stands
 on a granite column in a restored Crusader cloister.
 At his feet is a skull,
 a symbol of the transience of human life.
Jerome was a very prolific writer and a visit here 
makes me think about my own personal legacy.
What writing have I done to endure the test of time?
How about you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Away in a Manger- Bethlehem

A hollowed out stone usually served as a manger
 in Biblical times near the time of the birth of Jesus. 
Caves served as the shelter for livestock
 in bad weather months.

This is probably what the manger
 looked like where Jesus was laid in swaddling clothes.

On a hillside in Bethlehem is a cave 
available for people to see what
 would have been very similar cave
 in use 2000 years ago.

Open area in the cave

A secluded place to listen to the story
 of the birth of Jesus

Gardens in the cave area grounds

Humble beginnings
a King-come to serve.