Father Matt’s Reflections on the Holy Land: Wadi Kidron (the Kidron Valley)

The Wadi Kidron (Kidron Valley) stretches from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. The above photo is a portion of the Wadi Kidron located in the Judean Desert.

You may know of the Kidron from the Bible.  The Kidron is mentioned numerous times in the books of Kings and Chronicles as a place where the idols and altars of the Canaanite deities Baal and Asherah were thrown down and burned.  The Kidron also was a literal and symbolic boundary of Jerusalem.  Jeremiah mentions it as an area that will become sacred when Jerusalem is rebuilt.  2 Samuel notes that when King David fled, his time in the wilderness began when he crossed the Kidron.

The three photos below provide some idea of what the Kidron looks like just outside of the Old City of Jerusalem.  As you can see from the first two photos, its fairly barren. The third photo gives a view from the Walls of the Old City and provides some perspective on how the old and modern city were built above the Kidron.



The Kidron is also mentioned in the Gospel according to John, chapter 18:1, immediately after Jesus discourse to his disciples following the Last Supper.  “After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.”  The Garden mentioned is where Jesus prays with his disciples and where he is betrayed by Judas Iscariot.  This betrayal happens in “Gethsemane” in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew; in the Gospel according to Luke the betrayal happens at the Mount of Olives.  Thus, when you combine them all, you get the Garden of Gethsemane, across the Kidron Valley, on the Mount of Olives, and that is exactly where the traditional location of Gethsemane is. I will explore Gethsemane in more depth in a future post (I’ll try to remember to link to it).

The photos below provide a more “Garden” feel.  In the first, can see the walls of the Old City and Temple Mount in the background.  The second photo shows some of the ancient (though only hundreds not thousands of years old) Olive Trees.



All of these Biblical references are located in the upper portion of the Wadi Kidron next to Jerusalem. If you have been to Jerusalem you know this upper portion of it well; it divides the Old City (specifically the Temple Mount) from the Mount of Olives and includes one of the oldest active cemeteries in the world as well as the present-day Church of the Agony / Church of All Nations at Gethsemane.  Again, I will explore Gethsemane and the Church of the Agony in a future post.

A major feature of the part of the Kidron immediately below the Old City is a more-than-3000-year-old active cemetery with a number of ancient monuments, including “Absolom’s Tomb”.  I will likewise share more about the monuments and the cemetery in a future post.  In the meantime, here are a few photos of this part of the Kidron.

The Wadi Kidron heads south-east out of Jerusalem, into the Judean Desert, through the West Bank, and eventually descends 4000 feet until it reaches the Dead Sea. The Kidron is long enough to have several names: Wadi el-Joz (Valley of the Walnut) near the Temple Mount; Wadi en-Nar (Valley of Fire) for the majority of it which passes through the desert; Wadi er-Rahib (Monk’s Valley) for a small desert portion featuring Mar Saba monastery. I will share photos and info from Mar Saba in a future post as well!

The Kidron does include a seasonal river that eventually makes its way to the Dead Sea near a Settlement called Avnat which is about 5 miles from the excavations at Qumran.  The next photos show the Judean Desert portion of the Kidron, and you can see the River (I was there in March 2022) which is running at the bottom of the Valley.


The Kidron ends at the Dead Sea.  The photos below are not specifically taken from the Kidron – one was taken at Masada and the other at En Gedi – and I will offer posts on each of those at some point as well.


Stay tuned for upcoming posts that explore sites on the Kidron!  The next one will be on Mar Saba.

June 19, 2022 The 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

This period in the Church year is known as “The Season after Pentecost” or “Ordinary Time.”  The term “ordinary” refers to how the New Testament passages are generally read in order or in sequence, as opposed to being arranged by specific theme as in other seasons.  During this season the Gospel passages focus on the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and how he is revealed to the world as the Christ.  In Year C (the third in a three-year cycle: A, B & C) most of the Gospel passages are from the Gospel according to Luke.  The Old Testament Lesson in the Season after Pentecost, Year C, reads various stories about and writings of the Prophets.  The New Testament Lesson in the Season after Pentecost, Year C, reads Galatians, Colossians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and 2 Thessalonians in sequence.

The service is from the red Book of Common Prayer 1979.  All hymns are taken from the blue Hymnal 1982.  All hymns are reprinted with permission under OneLicense.net A713125.

Our Celebrant and Preacher this Sunday is the Reverend Matthew Hoxsie Mead.

Today’s In Person Worship

Today’s Live-Stream Worship & Sermon Archives

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Today’s Propers (Collect & Lections from Holy Scripture)

The Collect
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving­-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The First Lesson
1 Kings 19:1-4, (5-7), 8-15a
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” [Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”] He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” Then the Lord said to

The Psalm
Psalm 42 Quemadmodum

1 As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *
so longs my soul for you, O God.

2 My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; *
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, *
while all day long they say to me,
“Where now is your God?”

4 I pour out my soul when I think on these things: *
how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,

5 With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, *
among those who keep holy-day.

6 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
and why are you so disquieted within me?

7 Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

8 My soul is heavy within me; *
therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan,
and from the peak of Mizar among the heights of Hermon.

9 One deep calls to another in the noise of your cataracts; *
all your rapids and floods have gone over me.

10 The Lord grants his loving-kindness in the daytime; *
in the night season his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

11 I will say to the God of my strength,
“Why have you forgotten me? *
and why do I go so heavily while the enemy oppresses me?”

12 While my bones are being broken, *
my enemies mock me to my face;

13 All day long they mock me *
and say to me, “Where now is your God?”

14 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?

15 Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43 Judica me, Deus

1 Give judgment for me, O God,
and defend my cause against an ungodly people; *
deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.

2 For you are the God of my strength;
why have you put me from you? *
and why do I go so heavily while the enemy oppresses me?

3 Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, *
and bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling;

4 That I may go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness; *
and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God.

5 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?

6 Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

The Epistle
Galatians 3:23-29
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

The Gospel
Luke 8:26-39
Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me” — for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Parish Prayer List

Please note that names are listed alphabetically by last name of the person being prayed for (if it is known).  We do not list last names for privacy reasons. For pastoral emergencies call or text one of the clergy: While Father Matt is in the Holy Land, please call Deacon Chisara Alimole (914.338.5194), or call the parish office (914.738.5515). We have rebooted the prayer list,  If you have any updates (birthdays, prayers additions, etc., please let us know.) Please submit names you wish to be included by Tuesday morning, to Marie at: marie@christchurchpelham.org.  

Our prayers are asked especially for: Marion, Zach, Ralph, Jed, Karen, Monica, Rebecca, Alison, Hildy, Walter, Kathy, Rob, Sara, M&D, and Eileen.

We give thanks for those celebrating birthdays this week and in the coming week: Ellen Dierking (June 17)

And we give thanks for the Wedding Anniversary of Colette and Charles Phipps (June 25).

We pray for those in our Armed Services especially: Joseph, Kevin, Jack, Leopold, Philip, Jake, Matthew, Robert, Philip-Jason, Nicholas, Sam, Helen, Mitchel, Alec, Jonah, Tia, Tyrese, and Terrence.

We pray for those who have died, (especially _____).

May their souls and the souls of the departed, through the mercy of God,
rest in peace.  Amen

Today’s Music

Organ Prelude:  Adoration, Florence Beatrice Price

Hymn in Procession: 493, O, for a thousand tongues to sing, Azmon

Gloria in Excelsis: S-280, Robert J. Powell

Sequence Hymn: 567, Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old, St. Matthew

Anthem at the Offertory: As the deer, Martin Nystrom

Hymn of Praise at the Offertory: 380, v. 3 Praise God from whom all blessings flow (Doxology), Old 100th

Sanctus et Benedictus: S-130, Franz Peter Schubert

Agnus Dei, S-164, Franz Peter Schubert

Hymn at the Communion: 529, In Christ there is no East or West, McKee

Hymn in Procession: 599, Lift every voice and sing, Lift every voice and sing

Organ voluntary: Heliotrope Bouquet; Scott Joplin

Today’s choir is our Summer Choir
Jeffrey Hoffman, organist & director of music

Live-stream licensed under OneLicense.net A-713125.

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