Holy Land

Holy Land

Where did Jesus walk? Why does it matter to us?

This past Wednesday we gathered together, enjoyed a meal together, and then engaged in a presentation that wove together Mother Barbara’s experiences and photographs of her Holy Land trip with scriptural references to the locations where Jesus traveled and all set within the cultural and political context of Jesus’ time. There was an opportunity to hear Mother Barbara’s spiritual insights from each of the locations as well as quiet time to reflect upon our own insights gleaned from the images…

The essential paradox: Christ the King on the cross

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast Day of Christ the King. We end this liturgical year hearing the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. This has got to be the greatest paradox in all of our Christian faith and narrative. Have you ever wondered how the words “crucifixion of Jesus” are connected to “Christ the King”? What about this association could possibly make sense? In the gospel of Luke, a simple statement announces this dramatic act: Jesus is crucified, set between two…

Resurrection. Restoration. Reorientation.

After 24 hours of traveling from Jerusalem to Shippensburg, I arrived safely home. In the tiredness I feel this morning, and in light of the comments yesterday by others in our group that “I need a vacation from my vacation!”, I realize there’s a significant distinction between restoration, which we often get from a relaxing and restful vacation, and a pilgrimage which has led us to our place of resurrection. In my pondering, I believe restoration or renewal returns us,…

Ready to come home.

This morning I took with me the altar veil (the cloth which covers the chalice and paten) which was made out of Gretchen’s wedding dress. I chose this item to bring from St. Andrew’s, since it represented to me a true understanding of community and communion, the giving of oneself to the greater good and the glory of God. It represented to me so much of what I found as the place of my resurrection: self-emptying, surrender, commitment, and dedication…

Stay close to the cross.

We gathered in the morning light, with the lingering clouds highlighted in a rose hue above the cross which adorns St. George’s Cathedral, and we listened to the instructions of our guide, Iyad, as we headed into the city of Jerusalem to walk the stations of the cross. The various stations are strategically placed throughout the city and many pilgrims traverse the Via Dolrosa. The instructions Iyad offered us seemed to be mere logistical considerations, yet they were much more…

On the move with Jesus.

We were on the move with Jesus these past few days! The evening before, when we saw the 1st century grotto where Jesus must have spent time, either because it was his family’s home or his relatives, something shifted inside of me. I could see it. I could see the reality of what we spoke of in seminary as “the historical Jesus”. This was the real person who played and prayed, who visited relatives, met new people, created his own…

Jesus lived in a cave.

We saw this cave this evening. We’re in Nazareth and after a rather ordinary day of travel and nothing totally remarkable happening or requiring processing, we went down below the convent where we’re staying. My soul is both too silent for words to express my reaction to this sight and also too stirred up to ever be the same. I will need to process this a bit with you as I return, to begin to make sense of what I…

My cup runneth over.

” ….thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” (Psalm 23) There seems to be a common thread being woven through my pilgrimage: surrender. The word I would add today to that core reacquaintance with “the place of my resurrection” would be abundance. My cup runneth over today. Joy and light and love and…

Into the desert we went

This morning we were in the desert (Wadi Qelt) by 6 a.m. to pray and celebrate the Eucharist together. We began our time by praying Psalm 23 together, as we looked out over the desert which appeared to go on endlessly. The beauty was stunning, the view expansive, and the presence of God seemed tangible. We ended the Psalm with the words, “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”, and my heart and soul replied “AMEN”. It…

Pilgrimage: Returning to the Place of our Resurrection Part II

So yesterday, I was reunited with a place of resurrection by completely surrendering to God, through my prayers at the Western Wall. It was a powerful opening within me that burst open my awareness of my love of God. Today, we travelled to Bethlehem, which is only 7 miles from Jerusalem. For some reason, the physical distance between these important points in the Biblical narrative are much less than I had imagined. We had the amazing opportunity to arrive at…

Touching a piece of my resurrection

Today I found a part of what I came searching for as a pilgrim. I framed my pilgrimage in John Phillip Newell’s understanding that a pilgrimage is a return to the place of your resurrection. I learned today that the place of my resurrection involves complete surrender to God.  I experienced this release and joy at the Western Wall (previously called the Wailing Wall). This is the only remaining portion of the 2nd temple, which was destroyed by the Romans…

Moving deeply into the Spirit of Christ

So, I still don’t really know what day of the week it is and knowing the time of the day here becomes even more complicated because tonight is their end of Daylight Savings time, so we set our clocks back tonight, which is a gift, since we leave touring tomorrow at 6:15 a.m. But this day was a great and deeply moving and spiritual day. Here are all the places we visited: Garden of Gethsemane Dominus Flevit – the church…
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