Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 12:16
The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem organises a Feast for Christians from around the world. This occurs around the time of the Jewish Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles)
The 2001 ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles was attended by 2500 Christians from seventy nations plus 1500 local believers, and 1200 Jewish guests for the last night.
Numbers were well down on previous years because of September 11th and the violence of the so called "Intifada".
The first event was down by the Dead Sea
The desert celebration was held at Ein Gedi
There was a meal, and once it was dark and we saw the full moon that starts Sukkot, the celebration began.
The rest of the feast was held in Jerusalem
The first evening included the "Roll-call of the Nations" in which we had to identify ourselves with flags and national dress or, in our case, specially printed tee shirts, to express our love and support.
Our support was much appreciated by the Israelis including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Mayor of Jerusalem, who came to address us.
The Feast consisted of seminars addressed by excellent speakers and evening worship events on the theme "Arise Daughters of Zion" (2001) and "Enter His Gates" (2002).
(see Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering for an explanation of the significance of this feast, in which Jewish people celebrate in booths or shacks )
Our flags and tee shirts came out again for a march through downtown Jerusalem. We gave out greetings, little flags, postcards and candies.
A few years ago there were some "missionaries go home" banners, but now the warm welcome is wonderful.
Our friend Jean Claude, from the Ivory Coast was a great hit, in his national costume.
The Police and IDF responded to our the friendship and obviously enjoyed meeting folks from the nations who were not there to blame them for the violence, as the western media is continually doing.
Karen blew the silver trumpet.
Especially enjoyable for us was living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and getting closer to the Jewish people.
We wore our conference badges and special tee shirts, and found people warm and friendly and pleased to recognize us in their midst.
We commuted two miles between the conference centre and the old city by the number 1 "bendy-bus"
We walked home at night.We passed Ben Yehuda and the Sbarro Pizza Parlour, sites of terrorist killings, but saw no sign of the attacks.
Government repair teams move in to restore everything as they believe the best memorial to the dead is to assert that "they will not intimidate us – life will go on".
Being in the Jewish Quarter at this feast time was wonderful, especially seeing a little child running across the square to her father calling "Abba, Abba, Abba" the way we should trust our heavenly Father.
On the day of Hoshanna Rabah, we were able to join the Israel and Temple Mount Faithful movement as they brought water from the Pool of Siloam to anoint the temple stone and make the point that the Temple is still not rebuilt.
We were able to carry the flag of Jerusalem up to the Hulda Gate where we were denied entry.
One year, our highlight was the evening after Shabbat. We went to the Western Wall to pray and take some prayers for our local Jewish community and then wandered around the streets.
As we approached the Cardo we heard wonderful singing and found an impromptu gathering of musicians and families. When I started tape recording the singing a Jewish lady asked my wife what I was doing.
The lady introduced her husband and grandchildren and pointed out her son, playing the guitar.
Her husband took me into the circle of Jewish men dancing around the musicians.
(All this time I was wearing my badge and my "grafted in" tee shirt with its large logo incorporating the messianic seal)
Other moving moments came at a prayer meeting for Israel when a Jewish lady wept outside, saying she never realized Christians felt that way. A Jewish man remarked that they had had two thousand years to learn to cope with our hatred but our love broke him up.
The next Feast is in September or October - see The Jewish Calendar
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