Church of the Holy Sepulchre: An Excerpt From My Israel Journal

Many thanks to some good friends, I had the opportunity to go to Israel in the first half of November with HaDavar Ministries. Bob Morris of HaDavar was our tour host, and Hela Crown-Tamir of Israel, the Holyland Way was our guide (shameless commercial plug: buy her very useful book).  Both were outstanding.

The opportunity arose suddenly, and as Kimberly and I were discussing whether or not I should take it, she asked me to keep a journal* of the trip for her.  I did, and to my surprise nearly filled the thing.  Below is an excerpt:

Today we also went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Both Hela and Bob are saying, 100%, This Is Where It Happened.  Haven’t heard the reasons yet.  Took a series of pictures of the icons, including a nice set of the four evangelists.  The church has all manner of chapels, corridors, passageways &c.  After coming out — 10 min. before the rendezvous time — I saw a little side door, just off to the right of the main doors as you face the church.  I stuck my head in out of curiosity, and saw it was a little chapel.  One cleric was sitting in the shadows in the corner, droning his prayers; it was otherwise deserted. I sat down.  As I had in a quiet(er) corner of the church above, I said the Creed quietly.  Here I added the Lord’s Prayer and some other things as well, thinking of the centuries of brothers and sisters who said these same words here.

I believe in the communion of saints.

Then a door at the head of the chapel banged open, disgorging a flood of pilgrims noisily clambering down the stairs below the door, noisily traversing the length of the chapel and exiting by the door where I’d entered, their chatter disrupting my prayers.  I liked communing with the silent and long-departed dead saints a lot better than the raucous fellowship of the living ones.

Oh, well.  God isn’t finished with me yet.  Grow in grace, Tim.  Grow in grace.

*(By the way, Cavallini & Co. makes a really nice leatherbound journal for Barnes & Noble.  The Israel Journal was my second, and I highly recommend them.)

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