27 March 2005

A Worn Hymnbook in Jerusalem

There aren't very many Easter hymns in our LDS hymnbook. We sing them so rarely that I have specific memories of singing all three. I love all three. I especially like to sing those Easter songs when I have my little green hymnbook on hand.

I took my hymnbook to Jerusalem with me twice. It went to Bethel, where we sang "Nearer, My God, To Thee." We sang "Redeemer of Israel" on top of Mt. Sinai. "Angels We Have Heard on High" was sung in a field near Bethlehem. We would sing praise hymns while we were returning to Jerusalem. I can still hear "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" in Bethany in the tomb of Lazarus. Singing "More Holiness Give Me" always takes me back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I wrote in my hymnbook the names of the places where we sang those songs, and the names of my dear friends' favorite hymns. I remember Shahira saying that "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown" is her favorite hymn while we were at the Garden Tomb. Kirk loved "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." And even "Love at Home," which I don't particularly like, takes on special meaning when I remember singing it with an Iraqi family in Jordan who had escaped Iraq and joined the Church in Irbid, Jordan.

I know I've been writing about Jerusalem a lot recently. Easter is the time I think about Jerusalem the most. I miss Jerusalem. I don't think I ever felt more alive than when I was there.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
They shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls,
and prosperity within thy palaces

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
If I do not prefer Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Happy Easter. Christ the Lord is risen today.

3 comments:

  1. Yes, indeed Amira. Wonderful post. Isn't it amazing how songs can direct your memory. Happy Ester to you too!

    cooper

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  2. I just had to go back and read this post again today. My mother holds my grandmother's cookbooks near and dear to her heart because of all the personal notes about the recipes handwritten in the margins. You are leaving a beautiful diary of memories for yourself, and a legacy for your family. Wonderful post!

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  3. Thank you both. I really had a nice time thinking about these songs and being in Jerusalem this past week.

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