FATHER DAVID’S BLOG OF 1/30/2020 — I am writing this reflection early on Thursday morning of our first week of pilgrimage in Israel/Palestine. We arrived safely after a long flight from Newark International Airport.
We left the states on Sunday evening, January 26, and arrived here Monday afternoon. Emily, Audrey, and Canon Martha Kirkpatrick are well and we are fully engaged in the program. Since we have been here, President Trump announced his proposed Mideast peace plan which has received no support from the Palestinians. We are safe and have not seen any disturbances yet.
The title of the course that we are participating in is “The Footsteps of Jesus, Part II”. This means that we are visiting sites that I have never seen in my previous visits to the Holy Land. On Tuesday we visited the tomb of the prophet Samuel which included incredible views of the West Bank and the outer neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Tuesday afternoon we walked into the old city of Jerusalem to the one of the most highly Christian sites in all the world, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and learned about the history of this site.
One thing that I am still pondering about this visit is that the tomb that is believed to be where Jesus was laid, after he died, was shaped out of the bedrock of the earth. Jesus’ body was placed in living earth! I will try to unpack the significance of this when I get home. This is just a small example of the teachings we are receiving this week. Today (Thursday) we spent the day in Bethlehem and on Friday we leave for two days to the Galilee. More to come next week. You all remain in our prayers.
2/6/2020 Follow Up:
By the time you read this, Audrey, Emily and I will be on our way home. We leave very early Friday morning from Tel Aviv and our flight is scheduled to arrive early afternoon on Friday. A very long day indeed. The three of us are full of the power of this land. Please ask us to share with you our experiences and we will be glad to do so. There is so much to share! Over the coming weeks I will try to share my reflections through E Blasts and sermon illustrations.
One way I will be sharing some of my insights will be on the Quiet Morning that is scheduled for Saturday, February 22 from 9:00 a.m. until 12 Noon. I invite you to come to be quiet and enter into a time of prayer and reflection as we will explore two texts from the Gospel of Matthew. The first will be for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany which is the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus and the second will be the first Sunday of lent which recounts the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. This time together will provide opportunity for personal prayer and reflection as well as time to share with one another, if you choose, God’s moving inside of you. I hope you will consider attending as well as the other quiet days that are scheduled during Lent and Easter.