Monday, March 22, 2010

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows His name.

"What do you think of Amsterdam?" I asked Jon. "Honestly?" he responded, raising one nostril. We had just eaten an incredibly expensive breakfast next door to a XXX shop that was open at eight a.m. on a Sunday.

Our flight to Tel Aviv was at 8:00 p.m., so we had nearly an entire day to enjoy Amsterdam after a night of no sleep. We walked through the streets, trying to take in the sights and architecture, but mostly trying to not get run over by bicycles. At around noon, Pete and I were sitting outside Anne Frank's house when we saw Kathy, Zack and Jon duck into a shop. It was a little cold outside, so we crossed the street to join them. Outside the shop we were greeted by two young adults, and inside the shop wasn't a shop at all. I've come to expect this of my mother in law. She was probably a mile away when she smelled the hippest church plant in town. Or, perhaps, the only church in town.

Inside about fifty people were standing and watching a streamed-in Hillsongs church service. Neat rows of illuminated liquor bottles lined one wall. I've heard that most of the churches in Amsterdam have been turned into shops and restaurants and bars, so this image was simply way too cool. As the pastor paced a stage in England, the young Dutch cosmopolitans responded with clapping and sounds of agreement. A familiar worship song started and nearly everyone's hands went up, including mine.

This trip is something of a spiritual pilgrimage. We are going to stay in the town where Jesus was born, walk the streets that he walked, and visit his empty tomb on Easter morning. But on our layover in a quaint post-modern wasteland, we walked into a bar, and I knew: we were standing on holy ground.

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