Seems that I have neglected to write a conclusion to one of my previous trips, as this has been in the unfinished pile for about 8 months. I passed this church on the bus out of Nazareth last time I came here, and was curious to know when a service was here again.
I have always wanted to find out where there are Arab Christians who are real spirit filled believers and love the Jewish people and Israel. One is among my friends here, but how about in an mostly Israeli Arab city such as Akko, Jaffa or Nazareth, or even an a Palestinian city in the West Bank? I was curious to know if a revival could happen in and amongst these ancient white-stoned buildings today.
I work for a Christian organisation that provides food to needy Jewish population as poverty is 23% in Israel, where as I take an interest in the Hebrew roots of my Christian faith, I do often think about what happens with Arab believers here. I go to an active church in Jerusalem that is mostly Western in style although it has English and Hebrew worship music, there are Arab people there, and I live on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Talpiyot district which is just 50 yards away from Arab areas, and I pass through parks where I see Jewish and Arab people, so I feel an obligation to pray for both type of people. I don’t think its fair to people to criticise Christians working with the Jews to not be interested in helping Arab people, any more than someone ministering to the Irish should feel obliged to reach out to the Scottish, after all we all only have so much resources!
This church is fairly small but I think there was about 130 people there, completely packed full! Quite a a decent sized number of youth too, there are a few British and American Christians also here volunteering at nearby ministries too, I got chatting to. After the service I got a small tiny cup of Arabic style coffee which is just a reminder of the traditional part of culture here.
Why the ‘Today’s Nazerenes’ for the title of of this article? – well as well as the expected name for people who from Nazareth, either today or from the past, it is the Hebrew word for Christian, but these people seem to really fired up for the Lord even I was only able to hum along to the praise and worship!!
As a newbie Hebrew student, that’s Nun,Vav (a vowel), Zayen, Resh, Yod – ie pronounced: Natzari! The names of the equivalent symbols in Arabic I think are very similar.
I now need to visit church with another type of ancient Semitic language, the Amharic speaking Ethiopians next I reckon!
I feel really blessed that the Lord made perfect timing for me to get here 5 minutes before it started. I missed my last bus home, after asking some local people, they told me its best to get a taxi to Afula and get a bus back to Jerusalem from there.
After my disappointment in not finding many active Christians in the youth hostel, it was wonderful to find people worshiping Jesus in the town of his youth.
1. The Fauzi Azar – 2. The uglier sides of Nazareth – 3. Welcoming the king with palm leaves? – 4. Looking for the Jesus village – 5. The replica village of Jesus – 6. Today’s Nazarenes