Week 1-Honoring the Sabbath

Church in Tel Aviv

Why would the Lord ask us to honor the sabbath, to rest, to remove ourselves from work for one day each week? As I rest this Sunday in Tel Aviv I am conscious of the encouragement of Rev. Tim Lloyd to make sure I take a day of rest each week. Seldom does a minister get to rest on Sunday but as I start my role in Bethlehem tomorrow, I thought I should seize the moment – Carpe Diem, while I still can.

After coffee and a shower, I rented a bike and took the 2-mile bike ride along the coast to St Peter’s Monastery for worship. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the sounds of the waves were like music to my ears. I entered the chapel with a group of tourist who stopped at the back of the sanctuary to take pictures before filing out. I made my way towards the front where the small congregation sat as the priest spoke. He has just started the communion liturgy, in Italian, which I do not speak, but I could tell from his actions where we were in the service. He blessed the bread and the wine then we said the Lords prayer. Even though I was in a different country, in a different church, and in a different culture setting, the service of the Eurichrist is quite the same around the world.

As the time came for the sharing of the communion elements, we proceeded to the chancel rail where the priest placed a portion of the wafer into each of our mouths. The wine had already been consumed on our behalf by the priest.  We returned to our seats for prayer and the remainder of the service.

Once the service concluded, but before the congregation left, a tour group from Inda came to the front of the church, taking pictures and whispering. I moved to the chancel rail to kneel and pray. Then the groups started praying out loud, not in unison, but in their own words, in their native tongue, like Koreans do. After a few minutes, the praying ceased and they sang a song together. It was wonderful and made for a warm, Christ filled worshiped experience.

In some ways, the worship of Christ is the same anywhere, especially when we focus on the similarities. Yet, if you are like me, you may find yourself focused on the differences when visiting a new church. I get caught up in the minor differences in worship style instead of looking for Christ in the eyes and lives of Tel Aviv coastthose around me.

Prayer: Lord, help me start each day in a posture of surrender and an eye for Christ in those I see. Amen.

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