Sunday, 30 November 2008

jerusalem (2) - advent sunday

I went to church this morning and met Michael Jackson! O.K. it was Rt Revd Michael Jackson Bishop of the Diocese of Clogher in the Church of Ireland. He was leading a party of pilgrims in the Holy Land and had been invited to preach at the Advent Sunday joint Eucharist in St George’s Cathedral just next to the college. The Bishop of Jerusalem Rt Revd Suheil Dawani celebrated and it was a very encouraging occasion.

From left: Bishop Michael Jackson, Bishop Suheil Dawani, Canon Robert Edmunds, Revd Dr Stephen Need (Dean of St George's College) and Canon Bill Broughton.
The service was in Arabic apart from one reading and the sermon but the English speakers had been given translations of the liturgy. Highlights included the hymns being sung in Arabic and English at the same time as well as the Lord’s Prayer and Sanctus – it felt more like Pentecost than Advent. The sermon was quite uncomfortable as the bishop began with three illustrations; the packed garage in need of a good clearout; the cluttered desk needing to be tidied and the pile of washing needing to be ironed. I felt as if he’d had a word of knowledge about me, though I had ironed some of my cloths before coming away. However, he had a good message of encouragement and challenge, the most memorable phrase being: ‘Advent doesn’t challenge us to be perfect but to be prepared.’

Coffee and macaroons in the Cathedral grounds

After the service I enjoyed a refreshing cup of coffee and macaroon in the cathedral grounds amongst the lemon, lime and grapefruit trees. I also had a chat with Bishop Michael about how we use the Old Testament which he had mentioned in his sermon and this tied in with an ongoing discussion Jonathan Evens and I have been conducting on how we engage with scripture.

Mike's Place: purveyor of cold Guinness, hot pizza & Man Utd victories.

Another wander round the Old City for a couple of hours in the early afternoon before heading to Mike’s Place to watch the Manchester derby. Bit of a shock to discover the bar was in the middle of a building site with walls being demolished around it but the pizza was good and I enjoyed a Guinness as Utd destroyed City (well Utd won anyway and Ronaldo should never have been sent off). The only other customer was a Man City fan who was very chatty until the end of the game when he stormed off without a word. He was from Manchester and in Jerusalem to study Hebrew, though I'm pretty sure some of the Hebrew he uttered won't be found in the scriptures.

It was dark by the time the match had finished so I had a brief wander back through one of the markets and took a couple of night shots of the ramparts before returning to post this blog. Shalom.

Looking towards the Jaffa Gate of the Old City


Jonathan Evens said...

I found this blessing for a Sabbatical:

May you enter trustingly into this sabbath space
May you enter quietly into this sabbath space
May you enter joyfully into this sabbath play
Let your body unfold in this sabbath
Let your mind unwind in this sabbath
Let your spirit expand into this sabbath
May it reveal its secrets to you gently
May it embody its truth in you authentically
May it release new life in you abundantly
So go with gladness into this sabbath
Go with gratitude into this sabbath
And may the God who rests on the sabbath
look at her labours in you
and proclaim, 'It is very good.'

(Nicola Slee in R. Burgess, A Book of Blessings, Wild Goose Publications, 2001)

Charlie Kosla said...

Did you know that 97% of Man Utd Supporters have never been to Old Trafford? I would guess there must be a fair few in Israel.
Happy that your teram won the derby, it helped ease the trauma of a certain 3-0 game which defied all logic!! Steve K was remarkably quiet!!!

Philip Ritchie said...

Jonathan, thanks for posting the blessing, I really appreciate it.

Charlie, at least your team did MU a favour by beating Chelski.