I don't know if any of you noticed this story in the news, but earlier this week someone broke into our church in Jerusalem and tried to burn it down. Fortunately, the damage that was done was relatively minor. A lot of chairs were destroyed, along with the sound system and some musical instruments. No one was hurt and there was no structural damage to the building. In fact, we were able to have our service there this morning.
Even though the walls were still black and the air still smelled like smoke, we had a pretty awesome time of prayer and worship during the middle of the service. The congregation that Sarah and I belong to is actually a Baptist congregation that is pretty buttoned-down. However, during the middle of the singing at the beginning, folks just started shouting out prayers and praises to God, some people started singing and clapping. It was a pretty cool experience, in my opinion anyway. It was one of those moments when God kind of steps in and takes over what was meant to be an orderly and planned out worship service. I think we need a lot more of that and I hope that today will be the beginning of a new practice of listening to and responding to the leading of God, even if it messes up our plans. I know I could do a much better job of that than I do.
In much more disturbing news. I know some of you already know about this, but perhaps not everyone heard, a young Palestinian Christian from Gaza named Rami was killed a few weeks ago on his way home from work. It appears to be the work of Islamic extremists, but we don't really know yet. Please pray for his family and for Gazan Christians. Please also pray for Rami's attackers and for those who attacked the Church. Pray that God will bless them and enrich their lives, and please pray that Jesus will call them to himself.
I should also point out that in both of the above instances, the vast majority of Muslims and Jewish people have been loving and supporting toward those who have been hurt by minority groups within their own religion. Praise God for such love. It has done a lot to maintain peace and prevent the desire for vengeance and retribution. Thank you guys for your prayers.