Christian Businesses in Jerusalem
Jerusalem during the Holy Week of 2020 is like a ghost town. There are nationwide lockdowns and curfews. In a city that is normally pack with people from all over the world, there is now few people. Streets that usually have people shoulder to shoulder as you walk are now empty. A city that relies so much on tourism is now hurting. The COVID-19 virus has put Jerusalem and the world on hold. Travel has ceased, work has halted, and lives have been slowed.
One area that has been affected by the shutdown are the Old City businesses. Places that rely on tourists for a livelihood are now closed. Businesses that make a lot of money during the Holy Week are now hurting. Places like Zak’s Jerusalem Gifts in the Old City have been closed for over two weeks now. These shop keepers who need to be open to make a living are forced to be closed. There are no people to sell to. There are fines for if a business is open that should not be. Everything around the city, country, and world are on hold for an indefinite period of time.
As the government works to find a way to halt the spread of the virus, the focus is on stopping the virus and not small businesses. Small Old City shops that are not essential businesses remain closed. The government is doing what they can to look out for the health of nation. They are trying their best to think of all people affected, but it is hard to make things right for all people.
For Christian business owners Holy Week offers hope. Being in Jerusalem you do not have to go far to see that there is an empty tomb. Jesus overcame the grave. Jesus is our hope that everything will be ok in the end. He in the one who has all things in His hands. God in the one with the plan. We may be experiencing something that we do not understand or that seems unfair, but God is in control. Christians can have hope that God will work things out. The other hard part for people is that God will work things out in His timing, not our timing. People today want things to be fixed right now, but God does not work on our time.
During this time of uncertainty all we can do is pray. We need to look to God for answers. We need to slow down and think about what God wants from us. What can be learned during this time of isolation? What is God trying to teach us? This is a time that, as Christians, we should be coming together. This is also a time to come alongside those who are hurting and affected by the virus. The church is called to bear one another’s burdens. We are called to walk through life together. Now is not the time to abandon one another.
During this time of uncertainty shop keepers are left with the question of what to do during this time? There are some businesses like Zak’s that have moved to online sales. This is a way to overcome the loss of foot traffic in the Old City. This also allows people who were unable to make it to the Old City during Holy Week to be able to purchase items. People are able to get their piece of Jerusalem without leaving their home. Be sure to check out Zak's Jerusalem Gifts for ideas.
When the virus settles down and people are able to come out of their homes, businesses will return. The Old City will be filled with people again. Shops will open back up. The community will come together. People will once again flock back to Jerusalem. People will need their souvenirs from the Old City. But until that time all we can do is look to God. We need to pray. We need to look to the empty tomb and see that Christ has overcome the grave. Things will be alright in the end. God is in control and god will be praised. So, in this time stay home and stay safe. Let us do our part in slowing the virus so we can get back to life outside our home.