Good afternoon. It is 12:35 here in Jerusalem (JLM), and around 7 hours earlier in Chapel Hill, NC. I am writing this from the business office of St. Georges College and Cathedral's Guest House. It is a warm day--high in the 80s--and a dry heat, far different from the humid summer heat of NC.
The flight over was wonderfully uneventful. I sat by Eli, a young orthodox Jewish man from Brooklyn, NY, Flatbush area, who will live and go to school here for the next few months. I sat on the exit row seat so I got to stretch out, and sitting by the window, I could lean against the wall of the plane for good sleep: I slept for 7 hours over here. This morning I was awaken by the movement of several men with their prayer shawls on, large black hats, and other accessories of prayer, moving side to side, or backward and forward, reading and praying from their prayer books. I knew I was no longer in North Carolina.
On the shuttle from the airport to Jerusalem I sat by Mary Lou and Gene, Pentecostals who have a prayer ministry in this area. They have been here on and off since 1996, and truly feel the power of God in this land.
And this is what is amazing about this place: Christians, Jews, and Muslims claim this land that is about the size of New Jersey. And it is growing by leaps and bounds, with many Palestinians who own the land being moved out. And many of these Palestinians are Christians. It is impossible to be here and not be swept up into the religious and political dimensions of this land, culture, and people.
Shalom and Salaam!