Showing posts from November, 2013

Baptized into a New Year

Two weeks ago today, I celebrated my birthday in the land of of Israel - the Promised Land to a people that had lived long in exile... Two weeks ago today, in the company of friends, I celebrated my birthday in a way I could never have imagined, even just a year ago, even though I was so filled and overwhelmed with the places visited, that I could not even dwell on the significance of the day for me. We had hired a driver for the day to take us to various sites, and he also suggested some others that were nearby that we had not considered or did not know about. Originally, we had hoped to take two day trips, but in the end there was enough to see and experience in Jerusalem - so much so - that I can envision returning there some day to do the city and environs more justice. Though we had planned to go to Jericho and could not fit it in, we were able to survey the city from a kibbutz and it was especially memorable to situate the city and its terrain within the context of biblic

Keeping the Sabbath

I still am moving slowly, seemingly stuck between dimensions and planes of existence, and even time... I had every intention of making several entries about my trip, but have not managed to do so... In my last entry I spoke of how my journey to Jerusalem transpired from one Sabbath to another, and this seems fitting, because the notion of keeping the Sabbath has come to dominate many of my conversations of late. Recently, in my prayer group, we discussed a need and longing for keeping the Sabbath. For the rector of the Church and her assistant, keeping the Sabbath means they must block out their Mondays, and shelter this time from a lot of the distractions that life offers us. We reminisced over a time in this country when on the Sabbath - that is to say Sunday for most of us - stores were closed, and most of us went to Church, read the paper, and enjoyed family time, punctuated by a lovely meal. As we enter into the celebrations of both Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukk

A Journey from Sabbath to Sabbath

I move slowly, quietly, mindfully, and deliberately - after returning from the trip of a lifetime. I journeyed far and wide to Jerusalem, the Holy City, arriving on the Sabbath, and leaving it on the Sabbath, to return to my own city, on a long and lonely journey home... I arrive at a city that has shut down for the night. It is unusually quiet, but I do not know that it will not remain that way for very long... I travel to this city that somehow remains in suspended animation - out of place and and out of time - a city of contradictions - sacred to three faiths, all known as the People of the Book, all three quarreling with each other, like siblings and cousins that cannot get along... In the morning after our arrival, my two traveling companions and I make haste to the Old City, arriving at Jaffa Gate, passing the occasional Orthodox male in his kipa, a skullcap and Tallit, or prayer shawl - on his way to prayer. The city draws me in and devours me - it feels so familiar to m

Treading on Sacred Ground in a Set of Shoes

As I pack for my first trip to Israel, I try to pack as lightly and as consciously as possible, especially in a day and age when you are charged for every little thing!  Traveling makes me anxious, and it is nothing like it was back in the '50's and '60's, for those of you who can still recall that time... Travel in our current day and age makes me feel like an animal hauled and caged in a cattle car. Traveling truly deprives those but the very rich of any dignity at all. Still, it is a necessary evil to be endured if one is to go anywhere and see anything... And while I may fret about what to take and what to leave behind - often leaving behind what I most needed, and taking what was truly not necessary - there is one thing I never lose any sleep over and that is what to wear on my feet. I have a pair of Merrell's that I have taken everywhere for nearly the entire past decade - or, at least some incarnation of that pair. I have walked Paris, and London - and