This story is part a series of articles on African-American pilgrimages to the Holy Land by Dr. Ruth Pauline Plummer.
For 30 years I lived in Atlanta and even though I no longer live there, I still call it home. It is a city rich with meaning for me as it is where Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King raised their family. My children still live there.
Now that I live in Jerusalem – a city that holds meaning for me as a Christian – I am always delighted to welcome my friends visiting the Holy Land for the first time.
As a Christian TV broadcaster and executive, I was thrilled when my Atlanta colleague, Ron Jones and his wife Tami, came to Israel earlier this month.
Jones is a TV news anchor and multimedia journalist for 11 Alive News, WXIA-TV Atlanta (NBC Affiliate) with more than 25 years of television and digital experience. He anchors the evening news and is a creative storyteller who shoots and edits videos for several streaming platforms. His extensive law enforcement and military training set him apart from most traditional journalists and content creators.
The Jones arrived in Israel on an auspicious occasion for the Jewish state and, while here, gleaned some powerful parallels and lessons that they shared with us.
Here is their story:
We landed in Israel on “Jerusalem Day,” and what a day it was! We were surprised to see Israelis dancing to festive music in the streets of Jerusalem. They were celebrating a 55-year historic milestone – the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967.
It was quite a sight to see! Thousands of people waving the Israeli flag blanketed the streets, singing, jumping, dancing and shouting as they made their way through Jerusalem’s city center. Young and old alike proudly participated in this tribute to the nation they love dearly. We were honored to witness such an event up close and personal.
In the days following this celebration, our family was blessed to visit many amazing biblical sites such as the Old City, the Wailing Wall, the Mount of Olives, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Holy Sepulcher to name a few. We were in awe, realizing we were walking where Jesus once walked. It truly brought the Bible to life!
And while these sites were spectacular to see, the most significant takeaway from this first trip to Israel for our family was the people and the faithfulness of God. These descendants of Abraham are still here! Their families are still intact, thriving and prospering in the land God promised them centuries ago.
These people who through the centuries have been attacked and persecuted in every way possible, threatened with annihilation, hated and experienced the horrors of slavery are still present on this planet despite threats to wipe them off the face of the earth. They are still here with large families in close-knit communities. They are still passing on to the next generation a godly heritage and centuries-old traditions.
We realized that as believers, we too are the descendants of Abraham with a rich heritage and legacy promised to us through Jesus Christ. Just like our Jewish brothers and sisters, we as African-Americans have also weathered the storm of persecution and are still here.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:8–9, “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
We were blessed to see this same perseverance in Israel and it was an inspiration to us as Christians.
Our family also experienced one of the oldest Jewish traditions: the celebration of Shabbat. During this weekly festivity, husbands and wives sit down with their families and remind them of how they were once enslaved and how God delivered them out of Egypt. The father reminds his household of the faithfulness of God and then proceeds to speak blessings over his family, first over his wife and then each child.
Bishop and Dr. Plummer invited us into their home to experience that wonderful tradition by breaking bread and sharing scripture. What a fantastic time of food and fellowship. Dr. Ruth Plummer wrapped up the evening by beautifully singing the song “The Blessing“ over our entire family. We were deeply touched by the celebration of Shabbat with the Plummers and we now carry an even greater love and appreciation for this great nation of Israel and a deeper faith in God.
Dr. Ruth Pauline Plummer serves as president and CEO of Covenant Daughters Television Network and Covenant Daughters International Ministries. She also serves as the 1st Lady of Israel for the Church of God in Christ. She is a member of the ALL ISRAEL Advisory Board.