The building survived the Israeli War of Independence and the Six-Day War intact and continues to function as an Anglican church with several English, Arabic and Hebrew speaking congregations. Many Jewish Christians attend church here. Its mission has always been to spread the love of Christ to whomever needed that love. It has served as a sanctuary and hospital to both Muslims and Jews who needed assistance at various times of struggle in Israel.
Rector Pileggi preached on Luke 6 – stressing that we must let Jesus have Lordship over our hearts. We accomplish this by really listening to him…by being disciples and living a daily lifestyle of repentance. Then we can begin to experience the blessings (unburdened and peaceful living) that is contemplated in the Beatitudes. It was a hugely uplifting start to our day. The church service was Anglican and liturgical, but also contained Hebrew prayers and worship songs. The music was both traditional and contemporary, finishing with a raucous hand clapper that kept playing as we all filtered out of the church. Holy Communion was served, and prayer warriors stood to the side to pray for whomever needed some extra help.
Afterwards we got a good look at Jerusalem from the top of the Tower of David. We’re right in the heart of the Old City here at Christ Church, and it feels nothing short of extraordinary. To look on the Temple Mount and know that God wanted to live there with us on that spot (1 Chronicles 17:11-12) makes this place special, sacred, and holy. When Solomon finished the Temple construction he thought “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”
But God chose to be near us and he filled the temple with his Holiness. “The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘He is good; / his love endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). For some reason God has chosen this place and loves this land. He seeks after us in the same way he would visit Adam in the Garden in the late afternoons. He loves to be with us. And his love still permeates through this place. It’s palpable. There’s a real excitement being here.
Jerusalem is filled with God-seekers from a multitude of backgrounds and religious faiths. There are Jewish, and Muslim, and Orthodox and Protestant Christians walking all over the city and down the narrow alleys. Travelers and pilgrims from every nation roam the streets with maps and questions. But is it any wonder?
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!