Each year I look for Continuing Education opportunities that will enliven my ministry, hone my leadership skills or that seems right for current ministry. This year the idea came from my husband. He was invited to join a trip to the Holy Land led by The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington, Dean of our diocesan cathedral with Bishop Jeffery Lee. I cannot imagine a better boost for my spirit and imagination for ministry than to walk where Jesus walked.
Over the twelve days away we will visit the sites where Jesus was born, grew up, called the disciples, prayed, taught, healed, was crucified and appeared in glory at the resurrection. My heart beats faster just thinking about it. Gazing on the Sea of Galilee, seeing the walls of the Temple that still stand in Jerusalem, picturing Jesus preaching from the boat or dividing the loaves and fishes is all so thrilling to my soul. I feel like I am finally getting to go over to the home of a dear friend.
I am currently reading a wonderful book in preparation,
Jesus: A Pilgrimage by Jesuit Priest James Martin. Partly a guide book, partly a personal memoir and partly an intelligent biblical commentary on the life of Jesus. I am not lying, it is a real “page turner”.
A trip to the Holy Land is not just about what happened in the past. Inescapably, we will be learning about the present day conflicts that have riddle the Middles East. Our leaders Dominic and Jeff both aim for us to learn about the fallout from the political fighting through meeting people on both sides of the ‘wall’. We will visit a hospital, schools, and other Christian organizations that work for peace and to heal those hurt by the conflicts.
It is strange to consider that we will be sharing the Eucharist and kneeling in prayer in a place where peace seems a distant and even impossible reality.
As we spiritually prepare to go, I do ask for your prayers for Chad and me. While we are not great saints or anything, we have given our lives to the gospel. For us this is more than a tour it is a pilgrimage. It is about our connection with the Holy One.
We depart for Tel Aviv on Monday May 13th and return May 24th.
I will attempt to correspond at least once along the way with the parish. And plan to share pictures and first impressions when I return to worship on the 26th.
I am on the edge of my seat wondering how a pilgrimage to the Holy Land will affect my preaching, teaching and overall ministry. I look forward to going and I look forward to the return.
With you on the journey,