Cellist Doug McClure was in the biblical city of Shiloh soon after they discovered the location that is today believed to have been home to the tabernacle – the earthly home of God – thousands of years ago.
“At the time, they hadn’t really started to dig,” McClure said. “I was sitting there on a rock, in the middle of the weeds – me and my cello. And I played a song for God. I gave my musical offering to God.”
McClure, who is in town this week on a tour and to attend the opening ceremony of the United States embassy by invitation of the official delegation, spoke to Breaking Israel News from his Jerusalem hotel. He had just completed a concert for a small group of Holocaust survivors.
The cellist, an evangelical Christian with a self-described deep love for the Jewish people and Israel, has performed for countless world leaders, including King Juan Carlos I of Spain, King Abdullah of Jordan, former President Jimmy Carter and several former prime ministers and government officials of Israel.
He said music “is a very powerful gift from God. I would never underestimate it.”
McClure said that while the headlines are full of “turmoil, trials and tribulations, and all that is wrong in the world,” but his travels tell him that people long for peace. He finds that music is one of the shortest routes to accomplishing this goal.
“The language of music is universal,” said McClure. “I can communicate in the language of music – the right song at the right time – and bridge years of relations.
“What sometimes takes years and years of talking and negotiating and more talking and more negotiating, can be accomplished in two or three minutes of musical communication.”
McClure recalled playing a traditional Indian song for a crowd of 6,000 people in Mumbai to a standing ovation, and the time he played Jerusalem of Gold at a night to honor Israel in the United States, at which it turned out that one of the soldiers who overtook the Western Wall in the war’s final days was in the audience. It broke down all barriers.
“I would never trade moments like this for 1,000 nights on the stage of Carnegie Hall,” said McClure.
The cellist has been in Israel eight times. He has played in the Knesset. He played Hatikvah on a hilltop in Beth El. But he said, “I feel that the best days and most important audiences and connections in Israel are still ahead of me.”
McClure said he has always had a dream of playing the United States national anthem and Hatikvah back-to-back at an official ceremony. He may have the chance later today at the embassy ceremony. There has been talk that he will be able to play his cello, but he said details of the event are constantly changing and nothing has been confirmed.
Nonetheless, he will be there for what he said he considers “one of the best decisions the united states ever made, and I support it 500%.”
McClure quoted Genesis 12:3:
“I will bless those who bless you and curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”
“If you want to see your nation blessed, move your embassy to Jerusalem,” McClure said. “I am not a diplomat, I am not a politician, I am a musician. But if I could say something to the countries of the world, I would say the word of God is the word of God, and God says bless Israel, so I think you better bless Israel.
McClure said one of the great modern miracles is the restoration of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people to their homeland.
“I encourage every Christian in the world to stand by Israel,” he said. “It is something we must do, and it is a privilege.”
Doug McClure opens the Jerusalem Day Jewish-Christian Bible study at the Knesset with Hatikvah and “Jerusalem of Gold.”