Monday, December 29, 2008

The Holy Family's Pilgrimage

What I so enjoy about yesterday's lectionary reading (Luke 2) is the pilgrimage that the Holy Family has already been on by the time they enter the Temple and meet Simeon and Anna, ready to affirm what we now all know: this is the Son of the living God! We know that soon after his birth, the Holy Family went on a heck of a pilgrimage to Egypt, being chased by Herod's posse. My friend Henry Carse and I are eager to go on pilgrimage in that northern part of the Sinai to listen and learn from the Egyptian Coptics the path of the Holy Family nomads, a trail known only by those who are well-acquainted with the watering holes in that part of the world. Thus the Christ child truly is our Pilgrim God from the word "Go!"

Buen camino!

Salaam and Sahlom!

Peace, Brett

Thursday, December 25, 2008

St. Francis: A Pilgrim Saint...and Merry Christmas!

E. J. Dionne writes about St. Francis in his column this morning in the Washington Post, reminding us that the one who helped create the image of Jesus' birth in the dirt of the stall is none other than St. Francis, who first created a creche scene:

It was Saint Francis who, in 1223, set up the first creche in the Umbrian village of Greccio, depicting Christ's infancy in the less-than-regal circumstances of the manger. Saint Francis founded a religious order that stressed liberation from the tyranny of material possessions and, Pelikan notes, the role of Christians as "strangers and pilgrims in this world."

The world is still blessed with many actual Franciscans. But in our time, there is another community of "strangers and pilgrims" whose satisfaction comes not from accumulating material goods or political power. They are the relief workers and community builders lending their energy to the poorest people in villages and urban slums around the globe.

Click here for more.

We are strangers and pilgrims in this world!

Praise the Christ child, our Pilgrim God!

Buen camino!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Bethlehem: A Visit

I've been to Bethlehem twice now, and can say honestly I can't get enough of the current crisis/crises of this city in light of being the birthplace of the Prince of Peace. I remember well the muralist's Banksy's art/picture of a Christmas tree ablaze in the middle of a walled circle, the wall looking like the gray slabs that surround this city.

I remember looking from a high point in Jerusalem, looking at the wall snaking down and around Bethlehem, with the question haunting us: who is walled in or walled out?

the article in today's from the AP lines reflects a sense of quiet that is in the city. But the question is always this: this is not a peaceful quiet, but a quiet of resignation, or of angry people waiting to explode from their forced cocoon. Click here for more.

"O Little Town of Bethlehem" song begs the question: how still is it?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

John the Baptist: In the Jordan

Today's reading from Mark 1:1-8, was John the Baptizer, preparing the way of the coming of God in the person of Jesus. This is part of the pilgrimage journey of Advent, with John as prologue, as "starting point" for the journey of Jesus. The pilgrimage of God begins even earlier, with the words of the prophet Isaiah heralding the coming of the Christ, "Comfort, comfort my people."

I have stood, well, near the spot that the folks say "this is where John baptized Jesus" near Yarenit, a kibbutz that runs a tourist spot for Christian pilgrims. It is near where the Sea of Galilee flows into the Jordan, which then flows into the Dead Sea. It is a spot that is where the green river flows gently, with tree limbs hanging into the water.

So the Advent journey is well on its way!

Buen Camino!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pilgrimage Begins to Mecca!

Noticed this on the website: pilgrims are gathering outside of Mecca for pilgrimage! The pilgrims follow a route that follows the path set by Mohammed 14 centuries ago:

Some pilgrims walked, carrying their bags, while others took buses moving slowly through the crowds to the Mina area east of Mecca. Men were dressed in simple white robes, marking a state of ihram, or ritual purity.

The pilgrims will all have arrived by Sunday morning at Mount Arafat, about 10 miles east of Mecca. The Eid al-Adha, or feast of the sacrifice, begins on Monday, when pilgrims begin three days of casting stones at walls in a symbolic renunciation of the devil.

Like other world religions that honor pilgrimage as a sacred practice, pilgrimage among those who are Muslim is to be honored.

Click here for more.

Buen Camino!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Shabbath at HIllel at Carolina!

Tonight I went to Shabbath at Hillel Center at UNC. It was beautiful, both the worship service as well as dinner. The students reminded me of so many people I met in Israel on pilgrimage, with men as well as women wearing kippahs! I appreciated how well they knew the songs, the words, the prayers, the gestures, and the importance of the service.

Thanks to Hillel!

Peace! Brett

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Beginnings...

...and we're off.

The Church's calendar gives us a moment to pause in realizing the change that is afoot, whether we like it or not: we're off to a new year in the cycle of the Church's season. Christ the King, or the Realm of Christ Sunday brought us to the "end," of sorts, in which we pause along our pilgrimage route to reassess where we've been, where we are, and where we're going.

The first Sunday of Advent found me in First Presbyterian Church of Henderson, preaching, realizing that hope is something I need to constantly remember to live out. In a culture in which fear has been the buzz word for so long, hope is of God! It is gift, and yet also a practice. "To hope" in a day and age of fear and dread is a gift.

Salaam and Shalom!

Buen Camino!

Have hope!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

French Pilgrims!

Amazing and true! The French beat the English at settling in the new world in search of religious freedom. In this article from the, there is the story of how a small group of French Huguenots settled in Florida in 1564, along the River of May, now St. John's River near Jacksonville, FL. Not only did they settle, but they prospered in this little settlement, making friends with the natives of that part of the world.

In 1565, King Phillip II of Spain had other ideas for FL, leading a holy war against the "Lutherans," (another term for Protestants) with his Catholic Spanish forces.

On the eve of the celebration of one kind of "pilgrim" and "pilgrimage,"e.g., the pilgrims of Plimoth Plantation in 1627, we remember our pilgrim forbears of French origin in the small colony in what is now Florida!

Click here for more.

Buen Camino!

Salaam and Shalom!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Chava Alberstein and Greg Brown: Mid-East Meets Mid-West at Duke Univ.

Tonight I had the awesome of listening Greg Brown sing songs from the Midwest section of the USA, and Chava Alberstein, singing songs from her world of Israel. She is an inspiration (though Greg sang well too), because she has figured out that the Palestinians have a place in the land of Israel, as much as the Jews.

What I liked about Alberstein is not only her voice, but consciousness. In the Indy Weekly it wrote that she once put her life on the line by rewording a Passover song to criticize Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the late 80s. She truly advocates peace, which will involve people bending low in order to hear, see, and know that in that part of the world, all three faiths share the same earth, worshiping God.



Buen Camino!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

El Greco, Velazquez, and Pilgrimage...oh my!

For the past few months there was a great exhibit of the art work of El Greco and Velazquez--along with many other phenomenal paintings from the era of King Philip III of Spain--at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The memories of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela came flooding over me as I spent a day at the Prado before taking off for Ponferrada to being the pilgrimage to Santiago. Walking among the master painters works of art at the Prado, and then at the Nasher reminded me of the rich and vibrant church paintings, sculptures, and altarpieces that I saw along the way to Santiago.


Buen Camino!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Walking in Ancestral Steps

Yesterday was All Saints' Day, and next week's lectionary reading from the Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture hearkens also to our forbears, in which God renews the covenant with the people of Israel: "Then I took your father Abraham (and mother Sarah) from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many" (Josh. 24:3a).

This is as good a time to remember that the pilgrimage we find ourselves on today is but a continuance of a pilgrimage began before we were ever considered in the great scheme of things. While our footsteps are new to us, we follow the Pilgrim God, whose people have traipsed the soil of this land for generations on end. In doing something old--pilgrimage--we discover anew our faith in God.

Salaam and shalom.

Buen Camino!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Holy Land Appears in Dreams

This happens after pilgrimages: I dream of the places where I've just been to. Dream last night landed me in Israel, on the top of the ridge of the Wadi Qelt.

Of course, people who know I've been in Israel also ask about the pilgrimage, which stirs all the memories again.

Putting together the School of the Pilgrim newsletter stirred up the Holy Land.

Pilgrimage follows and frames my entire being.

Shalom and Salaam!

Buen Camino!


Monday, October 27, 2008

What Was Shaped on Pilgrimage in the Holy Land

Today at a meeting of the ministers in the area of Henderson, NC, in which I represented First Presbyterian Church, we talked about the lighting ceremony during Christmas. The subject was this: should we call it the Christmas Lighting Ceremony. I listened for awhile before stepping in and saying that I had a woman who is Jewish who attends my church, and Hannukah would be also recognized in our church. "And what of those who may be Muslim, and the celebration of Ead?" It is a celebration in the life of the Muslim tradition.

With that we chose to call is a Holiday service.

The Holy Land Pilgrimage shaped me!

Salaam and Shalom!

Buen Camino!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Banksy on pilgrimage

Throughout our time in the Palestinian Refugee Camp otherwise known as Bethlehem, we were intrigued by the art of the muralist Banksy. Today I noticed that there was much to do about a mural that Banksy did in London that caused a stir.

On this Friday, the mural above is a Banksy piece we saw entering and leaving Bethlehem. Provocative, yes?

Shalom and salaam, here AND there!

Buen camino!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls Rock!

The Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit, currently in Raleigh, NC, at the NC Museum of Science (showing until Dec. 28th), is excellent. It shows and explains both the discovery of the Scrolls, alongside the explanation of the Essene community in Qumran, and then, at the end, the Scroll fragments themselves. Found in 1947, the Scrolls were once brought to Duke University, shown in the Chapel, and Duke decided not to purchase the Scrolls. Instead, for $275,000, the Scrolls were bought for Israel, which is where I saw some of the Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book.

What was powerful was one expert who said, "now that we disturbed them, we have to preserve them."

Having recently been in Israel on pilgrimage, having taken a bus down to Masada near the Qumran area, and having been to the Shrine of the Book, dedicated to preserving the Scrolls, I marvel at the Scrolls discovery and the very pilgrimage of the scrolls themselves.

Salaam and shalom!

Buen Camino!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deut. 24: Moab and Moses

As I prepare for this Sunday's worship and the sermon I am struck by the story of Moses on the end of his pilgrimage through the Sinai. He ends up on the edge of Moab, on Mt. Nebo, about to cross into the Holy Land, the land of the Canaanites, but he is simply given a vision of what and where God's people are to go.

From Wadi Qelt I have seen Moab, looking down on Jericho, to Jerusalem, seeing the glistening waters of the Dead Sea, the Negev stretching nearby.

It is simply profound, having been on pilgrimage in that part of the world, to have the words of the Old and New Testament spring to life as I read it having been to that part of the world.

Come, one and all: go with us on pilgrimage next April 2009!

Salaam and shalom!

Buen Camino, Brett

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Israel...that's a Christian nation...

The necessity of visiting and going on pilgrimage in foreign lands came to haunt me the other day at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA: a gentleman that I've met before in the YMCA was in the whirlpool with me after a work-out. We were talking about the upcoming campaign, and the difference between the candidates: McCain vs. Obama. He suggested that Obama simply needed a little more time in the Senate before running, with experience over seas. I asked him how much he understood Obama's experience overseas vs. that of the current President, and he had not realized that you could count on one hand all the time that President Bush had experienced life overseas, and usually only to visit his parents.

Then we got into the politics of the Middle East, in which he stated: "Well Israel is a Christian nation." I couldn't resist or hold myself back. "No. That's not correct. That's wrong. In terms of religion it is a largely Muslim and Jewish nation, but it is not Christian. Christians are a distinct minority."

The importance of pilgrimage abroad.

Salaam and shalom,

Buen camino!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Pharisees: Jesus' Friends?

The lectionary reading today was from the Gospel of Matt. 22, in which Jesus is asked about the coin and what to do with the issue of power: Caesar vs. God.

What was wonderful was that on the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Israel, I came to appreciate anew the work of the Pharisees. They believed in the power of the people. They believed in a bottom-up work of community of faith. They enjoyed the give and take with Jesus.

Pilgrimage matters in knowing more about the land, culture, and history of our faith.

Salaam and shalom,

Buen camino!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Music of pilgrimage

One of the aspects that I appreciate about pilgrimage is music! The music I heard in Spain on pilgrimage is different than the music in Israel, is different than the music in Guatemala, is different than the music I heard in Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, the desert southwest of the States, Ireland...

I remember one night, attending synagogue evening prayers in Jerusalem, listening to the Psalms being prayed through music. There was a lilting "lah-lah" line that stuck in our ears, minds, tongues, dying to be sung as we left evening prayers that night of Rosh Hashanah.

Music matters!

Salaam and shalom,

Buen Camino!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lingering Pilgrimage

I am coming to the dawning awareness of the necessity of the School of the Pilgrim in terms of following up with people for 6 to 8 months: I was working out at the YMCA (Chapel Hill-Carrboro), and a friend who is Jewish and has been to Israel several times started talking with me about Israel. We had a great conversation for thirty minutes, talking about the politics, the religious issues, the presence of Hamas in the West Bank, the reality of both sides--Israeli and Palestinian--the politics, the land...

The pilgrimage in Israel lingers...

Salaam and shalom,

Buen Camino!


Monday, October 13, 2008

"He's an Arab!" What Pilgrimage Has to Teach Us About the World

After just being in Israel, talking and listening to old and new friends who are Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and some who are Christian, I was caught off guard by the questioner at a John McCain rally in which a woman said she wasn't going to vote for Barack Obama because he is an "Arab."

First reaction: no, no, no: he's not an Arab.

Second reaction at the same time: what's bad about being an "Arab?"

On top of this dialogue there was this article in the New York Times (on-line,, in which Hindu's are threatening Christian to convert or flee in India. ‘Embrace Hinduism, and your house will not be demolished,’ ” Mr. Digal recalled being told on that Wednesday afternoon in September. “ ‘Otherwise, you will be killed, or you will be thrown out of the village.’ ” Click here for more.

Coming out of 12 days in Israel I am very sensitive to the realities of this world that barely raises it's head in the safe waters of the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC: we live in a world in which people simply fear the "Other" simply because of one's religion or faith. The questioner wasn't asking about Mr. Obama being an Arab, but being a Muslim. I don't think that many people in the States can appreciate that you can be an Arab and not be Muslim.

Pilgrimage in different lands as a Christian matters: it teaches one how small the world is!

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino,


Friday, October 10, 2008

It's the Little Things

I picked up a box of blueberries and pomegranate cereal yesterday at Trader Joe's Market and was instantly transported to Israel. On the street corner, near the Jaffa Gate, Matt (intrepid as ever) ordered himself a glass of squeezed pomegranate juice. The vendor simply cut in half a red pomegranate, put it in a squeezer, and, voila! Juice! Juice that was redder than barnyard red...almost blood red, full of anti-oxidants. Jaqui ordered a smaller glass the next day, and we all had sips from this crazy fruit.

Matt had bought two pomegranates in the market area of Nazareth. We tried the one that was supposed to be "sweeter," and found it seedy. We tried to suck the seeds, but to little satisfaction. It tasted pulpy rather than juicy.

It is the little things around me today that inspire, evoke, and stimulate me about thinking "pilgrimage!"

Stay tuned: we're going on Pilgrimage to Israel again next year, leaving the 10th of April, 2009 for 10 days.

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen camino!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Next Pilgrimage

The invitation has been made by Henry Carse in Jerusalem to bring a group of pilgrims over to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, leaving April 10th (the day after the Western Church's Easter), in order to be in Jerusalem for Passion Week of the Eastern (Orthodox) churches (Greek and Russian, to name a few). Ten day trip. Offering an opportunity to see and be in the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as Bethlehem and the Sea of Galilee area.

Will come up with more information soon!

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Memories of Pilgrimage: Shoes

This morning I put my shoes on, and memories of Israel came flooding back to me because I wore these Keen sandals, along with my Chacos, around the various outdoor bazaars and holy sites--always wearing long trousers. I remember wearing these shoes, my feet feeling little to no pain of blisters, coated with Guerney Goo, a gift from New Zealand, thanks to Jaqui, who taught me how to liberally cover my feet with the white goo which helps in any rubbing of the feet in the wrong places.

As I wear my shoes and type this entry, I am reminded of the last taxi driver we had on Sat., zooming to the airport in Tel Aviv. We were talking about the land and the people, the ancient issues if you will, when out of nowhere his cell phone rings with the melody from the television series, "Sex and the City," and I broke out in laughter. Old and new collide in the taxi drive to Tel Aviv. Gotta love it.

Shalom and Salaam, Buen Camino...B

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pilgrimage Over Land vs. Pilgrimage Over Time, Place, and People

I am looking at the stubs and receipts I accumulated while in Israel. My "Old Testament" Hebrew lessons from Princeton help me in identifying the symbols, but little else makes sense, save for "Shalom" and "Israel" in Hebrew. Those are readily identifiable. I am smitten by the Arabic scroll, the fluidity of line that is seen a little bit in the Hebrew lettering, which tends to be more like blocks, save for the one character that is "l" in Hebrew, or the shema.

In the YMCA in Chapel Hill, NC, I quickly noticed the woman in Muslim dress yesterday, walking her young son down the stairs to the pool. On my desk is the text "Walk humbly with your God" in Hebrew lettering.

My legs and feet--which ached a few days after returning--are back to normal. But the culture, the people, the voices, the smells, linger on, especially as I smell the tapers from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or listen to a c.d. of a woman singing Arabic songs.

The pilgrimage we were on was more or less a pilgrimage not only on and over the land, but among a people, who have left their imprint upon my life. I hear their voices. I wake up expecting to hear a distant minaret's amplifier sharing the evening prayer. I see the woman sitting in the middle of the street begging for alms, along with the gentleman who was blind in Nazareth, his curled hand collecting alms. I bought humus last night at Harris Teeter just to remember the taste, though missing the meat and pine nuts.

The culture lingers in me. It has entered the marrow of my existence.

Pilgrimage continues onward...salaam and shalom...B

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Voices of Israel: A Pilgrimage of Voices

In one of my books I write about pilgrimage being sometimes over land (Santiago de Compostela), sometimes over time; and some times over people. This pilgrimage to Israel was over and among a people, which makes it all together a different pilgrimage. There are many voice in the land of Israel, each expressing their view point and opinion, the way they understand what is true and right, fact and reality.

This was put in the flesh when I boarded the airplane from Tel Aviv to Newark: my flight attendant had just been having discussions with the folks who are Messianic Jews, a.k.a., Jews for Jesus. They understand that the Messiah has already come back in the person of Jesus, and are out to persuade other Jews to understand this truth.

Later that night, when entering a restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, I encountered a friend and his girl-friend, who I met for the first time. She was excited that her daughters had an opportunity to live in Israel and get to know their home-land as Jewish young girls. When I countered that it is a land with many claims on it, she retorted that those who are Jewish have every right to the modern land of Israel because of the biblical claims.

There are many voices in Israel. Perhaps this was a pilgrimage of voices. Clearly there is not a homogeneity among those voices, but a heterogeneity that borders on cacophony.

Shalom and Salaam,

Buen Camino,


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, October 5th: the Day After

Today I saw a woman wearing a hijab at a Target store in Durham, NC, a kind of Muslim dress for women covering the head and the rest of the body on women. It is not as restrictive as a burqa, which also covers, the eyes, but it covers the body, and is usually black. I was suddenly whisked back to JLM, which was only a day earlier.

The processing has begun.

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino, Brett

If it is October 4th, then it is time to go to North Carolina!

After a great night discussing and processing the pilgrimage, we had an early morning getting ready to go to the airport. Henry met Jaqui and I for breakfast at St. George, and then we took off in a Palestinian cab. The driver wasn't sure if we were going to get stopped at the airport, but we were all surprised by the relative ease of getting to the departure area.

After a beauiatfultime of sharing some more , Jaqui and I left one another, and I was soon off to Newark. I got into a great discussion on pilgrimage with Kevin, a flight attendant, who told me about the Messianic Jews he's met on flights. The home was smooth sailing.

Now the real work of pilgrimage begins: processing pilgrimage! Stay tuned!

Buen Camino!

Salaam and Shalom, Brett


We woke up this morning at 5 in order to get a ride with Henry to Wadi Qelt. Wadi (a place of water) is located just outside of Jerusalem. It is a high ridge, letting us see the tallest buildings from Jerusalem to the west, and the Moab mountain ridge to the east. Last year we easily drove to the Wadi Qelt, but this year the gate was closed near the entrance to the Wadi, so we parked the car and walked half a mile. Once we were on top of the ridge, you could see the lights of Jerusalem, the lights from Israeli settlements nearby, and the contours of the mountains around us, in which Jesus talked about how much he loved Jerusalem like a "mother hen." By 6:30 A.M. the sun rose, and the light on the mountain sides changed the very color of the texture of the hills.


Climbing down from the Wadi, we then drove to the nearby restaurant/drive-in and got some coffee, waiting for the national bus--the Greyhound of Israel--along with other Palestinians from nearby Jericho. It took forever for a bus to come, which frustrated Henry and us, so he took us to nearby Masada! We passed by Qumran, site for the discovery of the Essenes collection of Dead Sea Scrolls. The nationalistic flavor of Masada starts with the film, in which there is no discussion of how Herod built Masada and why, but the defense of Masada, in which a renegade group of Israeli Jews took over the place after the fall of Jerusalem (after Jesus' death and resurrection), and Rome's conquest of the hill fort, which precipitated the suicide of those in Masada. As the film narrator said, it was a matter of "death or freedom," with Peter O'Toole playing the Roman commander charging the hill and finding everyone dead. We then took a cable-car to the top of the hills with a carload of Colombian Catholics. The site--a world heritage site--is clean and pristine, with little of the sense that it is an antique site, feeling like it could've been a movie set. We met Augie from Israel, who was born in Portland, OR, along with his family and friends from Portland who were visiting the site. We talked about Portland, and about his trip to New Zealand with Jaqui.

Making it down from the top of the hill before 11:30, we raced to catch the bus to Jerusalem, which is a 90 minute drive through the Negev, with the Dead Sea on our right, which is not only "dead," but dying, as in shrinking in size. The air conditioning in the bus felt great. We picked up people from Dead Sea resorts and kibbutzes, making it to downtown JLM in no time flat. Once we were at the bus stop, which is a mall, we spent time shopping, eating, and enjoying the modern life of JLM. Two soldiers--two young women--found a wallet in search of an owner, in which Jaqui helped them find the owner. Making it down Jaffa St., we went to a wonderful bazaar of a largely Jewish group of people, with all kinds of things for sale: flowers and fruits, vegetables and fish. Meanwhile, the rest of the town (West JLM) was closing up because it was Shabbath.

For old time's sake we made it to the New Gate of the Old Town, walking the alley ways of the Christian quarter, buying a few nick-nacks, winding our way to the Damascus gate. At Jafar's Sweet Shop near the entrance of the Damascus gate we had one more taste of kanafeh. We strolled back to St. Georges and got ready to go out to dinner: one more time at Azzahra's!

Slowly but surely, the pilgrimage was coming to an end: Matt left on a 9:00 shuttle service to the airport, and Jaqui and I went out to process the pilgrimage with a few glasses of wine at Azzahra's. The next day we would both find our way to the airport, winging our way to our next stop: London for Jaqui, and North Carolina for me.

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Old and the New in Jerusalem

In terms of architectural spans, this was a long one on today's pilgrimage: we started the morning off looking at Herodian, Byzantine, Crusader, and First Temple period ruins on the south side of the Dome of the Rock area. We walked among massive blocks of the wall which had fallen down throughout the year after one invasion or another.

This was followed by a visit to the Citadel of David, which is in a more modern (13-14th or 15th century) building, explaining the history of Jerusalem.

We ended the day in the very modern building of Yad Vashem, which literally means "memorial of names." It is a memorial to all those who died in the Holocaust in WWII. Incredibly powerful.

Right now I am absorbing all the images, sounds, stories, smells, and feelings, and will process them throughout the coming days as I figure out what is happening in this complicated land, culture, and people.

Salaam, Shalom, and Peace,

Buen Camino!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rosh Hashanah Changes the Schedule of Pilgrimage

We were all ready to go out and explore the Israel Museum, the museum to the book (Dead Sea Scrolls), and Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum), when our schedule was changed by the fact that most of Jerusalem was shut down because this is still Rosh Hashanah today until 7:00 P.M.
After failing to get a tax quickly, we had to ask if both museums were open, only to find out that one (1) was open: the Israel Museum. So after a lengthy delay of waiting for buses (they don't run today), going to shuttle buses (they only go to Palestinian territories), and waiting for taxis (who liked to charge extra), we made it to a place for lunch, and found a Palestinian taxi who charged a set rate to the Israel Museum.

The Israel Museum had an excellent "floor plan" or city scape of Jerusalem in the 2nd Temple Era (Herod ruled), in which we could see the various places mentioned in the Bible from both Old and New Testament.

In the area of the museum which housed the Dead Sea Scrolls, part of the Isaiah text was on display from the Essenes writing of the Hebrew Texts from before Christ, as well as giving an excellent presentation on the Essenes life.

Attached to the Israel Museum was a great art exhibit as well, with beautiful art from the larger museum that is all under renovation.

We then walked back to the Old City and dawdled among the sellers, especially with Ayman, a wonderful Palestinian Muslim who studied at Northwestern University in Chicago for 2 years. We learned lots about rugs, Suzani fabrics, and jewelry while sipping hot tea. By the time we left, we rushed over to E. Jerusalem for dinner, and then finally made it home by 9:30.

Tomorrow? The Temple Mount, the ruins on the south side of the city, Citadel of David Museum, and Yad Vashem.

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Churches, Mosque, and Synagogue

As if we had to celebrate Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, and an ordinary day in the Christian year, we three pilgrims started off with a tour of churches on the Via Dolorosa (the way of the Cross), and ended up in evening prayers in a synagogue, and stepped inside a mosque:
* First church was he Church of St. Anne (and Joachim, her husband), parents of St. Mary. This is a beautiful Crusader church based upon or near Byzantine relics, which are near the pools of Bethesda, which were outside the walls of Jerusalem during Jesus' day, but today are within the walls.
* We then went next door to the Greek Orthodox chapel for the tomb of St. Anne and St. Joachim. Beautiful and very Orthodox, with icons all over the place...literally.
* We then made it to the Greek Orthodox shrine where St. Mary died, filled with chandeliers and icons, with the site of her death;
* We then met the 12-2:30 lunch time, in which all the shrines and churches close, so we scavenged and found a place to eat: 7 Arches, a Palestinian restaurant near Mt. of Olives.
All the Jewish establishments are closed because of the holiday...all!
* We then made it to Pater Noster chapel, where Jesus is to have uttered the Lord's Prayer, and then the shrine of Ascension, where Jesus ascended, with a slab of rock marking his foot print where he last touched terra firma.
* I then stepped into a mosque, breathed in the serenity of the garden, and said a prayer for peace;
* We made it down to the "And Jesus Wept" chapel, as he looked over Jerusalem and cried as he said he would like to be a mother hen, bringing the children of Israel back into the fold. The chapel is designed by Barluzzi...exquisite, overlooking the old city;
* We traversed across the street to the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Chapel that is dedicated to all nations next to it;
* We then walked several miles to a Reformed synagogue for evening prayers, entering the Jewish "burbs" of Jerusalem (modern), which were lovely, though all the shops were closed. We caught one synagogue taking a fish to the river (dead fish), and casting the dead fish into the river with everyone's sins...happy new year!
* We then went to evening prayers in a Reformed synagogue. I still know enough Hebrew to follow some of the lines of the prayers/Psalms;
* The walk back was exhilarating, and dinner at our favorite Palestinian restaurant capped off a great day of walking and seeing and sensing the holy in an incredible land.

Shalom and Salaam,

Buen Camino!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Back to Jerusalem

This morning was an early morning: we got up at the break of dawn, packing our clothes and stuffing our rented car (a small Hyundai that they don't make in the States), ready to head back to Jerusalem (JLM). After a good breakfast, we headed west toward Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor is the place of Transfiguration. It is also high above the plain that plays a major role in Armageddon. The Chapel was designed by Barluzzi, who also designed the Chapels in Bethlehem and the Mt. of the Beatitudes, though this was one of the prettiest out of all the other chapels we've seen. There is a huge mosaic of Jesus, Elijah, and Moses in the Chapel, which sets on a site in which countless of other churches (now in ruins) used to sit.

The ride back home (3 hours) was, well, um, er, gee: fast! I rode behind an Israeli driver, and though this country has very few interstate highways, we passed each other with a certain aggression that made the other riders, well, um, close their eyes. But we made it back to JLM in time to unpack our things, fill the car with gas, and get to the Avis rental center with 5 minutes to spare (they close at 1 today because it is Rosh Hashanah). What a trip!

After dropping off the car, we strolled through the King David hotel, walked through the Old City to Papa Andreas, in which we had a grand tour of the Old City atop of the world. Fantastic view. We took Matt down to the Western Wall (he hadn't been there yet), and we watched as more and more men and their sons came to the Wall to pray, dressed in velvet coats, ermine hats, polished other words, their best clothes possible because it is Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year. For two days, parts of the city will be closed because of this religious holiday. And by closed, I mean closed tight. It is rare, but this year Muslim Ramadan ALSO draws to a close, and there is more partying. I've learned more about Muslim holidays than I've ever known before during this trip.

After lunch and the Wall visit, we treated ourselves to baklava, and by 5:00 made it to our room at St. Georges.

Off to see if Ramadan ends tonight (the moon must show in order to draw this period of fasting and prayer to a close).

Shalom and Salaam,

Buen Camino,


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, and St. Peter's Primacy

At 10:30 this morning we set off for the day to the top of the hill outside the Pilgerhaus: the Chapel of the Beatitudes. A Franciscan Chapel, it overlooks the Sea of Galilee, and the view is spectacular. Tradition says that this is the place that the thousands heard the Beatitudes (Matt. 5, etc.), and one had to wonder if Jesus had the facing the mountain to keep their attention because the scenery is beautiful! We read the entire Beatitudes this morning from this spot, and I must say it is one thing to read those texts in seminary and churches, and to read them right on the grassy edge of the Chapel. Context matters! The contextualization of reading these texts in the land and places where they may have happened brings theology and geography together like nothing else can.

We then walked by the side of a banana plantation, down a path to Capernaum, set by the Sea of Galilee, overlooking the ruins of the city where Peter lived, and where Jesus' earthly ministry took place. The ruins in this area show an amazing floor print of the City in the day of Jesus' life...fascinating to behold.

We then had lunch outside the ruins (salads!) before heading to St. Peter's Primacy, in which it is said that this is the place that the resurrected Christ cooked fish for his disciples, like Peter and others who were fishing. There is a flat rock, which is the supposed table (as told to the pilgrim Egeria by the Byzantines who took care of this place) where Christ set out the food, welcoming the fishermen from their day's labor, and, according to John, telling them repeatedly to tend, care, and the sheep of Jesus Christ's flock: us!

Back to Pilgerhaus, laughing and enjoy a 12 km walk in the hot, dry, sun of a Palestinian autumn day.

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino,



Can anything good come out of Nazareth? That was the question, and the answer was a definite yes.

We started the day off at Yarnit, in which the river Jordan meets the Sea of Galilee, and, according to Mark, this is the place of Jesus' baptism. We watched as a group of Brazilian Greek Orthodox folks (!) were baptized, along with a group of Protestant Indonesians, and a Russian Orthodox for the heck of it (3 or 4). It is wonderful to watch everyone rent their robe and descend the stairs and ramps to the greenish water of the Jordan, full immersed, and holding their noses as they are dunked.

After that we headed through Tiberias to Nazareth. Once we successfully parked our car (don't ask), we made our way to the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Annunciation, which is split in two parts. The bottom floor has the grotto where Mary was told by Gabriel she was to have a baby. The top half is modern veneration point for the world, revering the memories of this momentous news, all in 1960s architecture, e.g., cement and glass, with little wood. We tried to see a Herodian ruin at the Sisters of Nazareth Convent, but they wouldn't let us in because they were all booked.

We then went to the Greek Orthodox Chapel where they celebrate the annunciation, where Mary received the word that she was to give birth to Jesus by the running stream, but they were closed because of a funeral, in which we got caught up in the procession to the cemetery. While the Chapel was closed (with running water inside), the procession was something to behold.

We then made it to the Cactus room, in which they have the ruins of the old Roman Baths, and then the Mahroum Sweet shop for kanafeh and baklava!

We made it back to the Pilgerhaus by 7 for a fun dinner, full from a great day of touching and seeing and tasting and experiencing the rush of modern life amid the holy places of faith.

Salaam and Shalom, Brett

Friday, September 26, 2008

To Galilee!

This morning we processed BETHLEHEM, and sorted out the day's agenda:
* We made it to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre/Resurrection, and kissed the rock where Jesus' tomb was, and from which he rose, being scooted along by a Greek Orthodox priest who yelled "Single Line!" and "Bravo" when we got out in time as hundreds waited to kiss the stone.
* We made it to St. Mark's, which is the Syrian Orthodox Chapel that housed the first meeting room of the Church because they had the Last Supper with Jesus here.
* We were wooed by a rug seller (More later), and given coffee and water for some purchases;\
* This morning, as we walked along the Cordo we were caught in a rush of veiled Muslim women as they rushed to the mosque near the Dome of the Rock because it is the last Sat. of Ramadan. Tonight is the night Muslim's celebrate the unveiling of the Koran!
* We made it to Avis to rent a car by 1, which is when Shabbath began.
* Then we made our way back to pick up our bags and out of Jerusalem! And we got really lost until we asked a driver in a bus in a town that wasn't on the map where we were. He asked, "How'd you ever find this road?" We were truly lost. But he led us to the highway that led us to the Dead Sea, and then left to Galilee.
* Tonight we ate dinner with the folks at the Pilgerhaus, a Benedictine house of welcome, along with the founders/ blazers of the Jesus Trail, a 40 mile trail through this area, connecting places of Jesus' ministry.

Buen Camino!

Shalom and Salaam, Brett

Thursday, September 25, 2008


This was a fascinating day emotionally, spiritually, politically, and in every other way of life: going to Bethlehem. I have long lost the image of "O Little Town O Bethlehem" hymns, which was dashed and replaced by Bethlehem the captive after last year's trip to this area of the world. Bethlehem is a Palestinian refugee camp, surrounded by a gray cement wall that is 8 meters high, surrounding the entire city. People who are Palestinian and live in here have a hard time getting out, and any Israeli citizen caught in the city is fined $25,000.

We began the day with a quick bus ride from Jerusalem. We got through the security point quickly, and found our friend Elias Ghareeb. Elias is a young Palestinian Christian (Greek Orthodox), and he gave us a royal tour:
* Started off with a visit to the Church of the Nativity, in which we kissed the rock where Jesus was born and the other rock where he was put in the manger. The Church is beautiful, with floors that are part stone and part wooden trap door, in which, when lifted, reveal the mosaic floors of St. Helena's days (4th century).
* We then went next door to St. Catherine's, Roman Catholic Church, in which we visited the place where St. Jerome once worked on the Vulgate version of the Bible.
* After a cup of coffee, we made our way to the Milk Chapel, in which the Virgin was said to have dropped some milk as she fed the baby Jesus, and the entire ceiling went white. The stone (lime) is said to have medicinal value when a woman takes some of the chalk from the ceiling (limestone) and ingests it.
* We then went to St. Cabus, a Greek Orthodox Chapel/Church, filled with icons from floor to ceiling, including the ceiling. Incredibly beautiful. Behind the Church were the 5th century Byzantine ruins of the Church and a Chapel that housed the remains of "some shepherds," as this church was the place where the Greek Orthodox Church believe the Shepherds were buried that worshiped Jesus.
* We made our way to Herod's Tomb/Monument, which is where Heron was buried. They only recently found his body/remains. What made an impression was the pool (Roman) at the bottom of the mound, with aqueducts bringing water to him. From the top of the hill you could see many Israeli settlements, made possible by moving out Palestinian families...illegally often times.
* We had a lunch of 12 different salads at Elias' family place, with lots of pita bread, with coffee and baklava for dessert. Yum!
* Souvenirs were bought next door at a Fair Trade shop, in which the artisans themselves get a fair pay back for the purchases we made.
* We then went to the Canadian Chapel at the Roman Catholic Shepherd's Field, different than the Orthodox! The Chapel is round, and along with a group of folks from Singapore we sang "Hark the Herald" and "Silent Night." It was magical because the acoustics are great, and to hear us sing one verse of Silent Night in English, followed by the Singapore Christians afterward in their language made us all breathe in the Holy! A great archtect by the name of Barluzzi designed this chapel, and other chapels throughout the land.
* We visited a church in which the spring of water produced a verdant garden in the middle of the dessert;
* We took in 2 out of 3 Solomonic Pools (Old Testament talks about these pools), which are larger by two or three sizes of the Olympic pools;
* We tasted Kanafeh, which is sweeter than baklava;
* We then went to the Palestinian Refugee Center, experiencing the full brunt of the 8 m. high wall that entombs Bethelehem. We were moved beyond tears by the wall, as well as the story of Palestinians who are literally stuck here because of Israeli law. The refugees who first lived here were moved here decades ago because Israel's forces took over 27 Palestinian towns, and those numbers swelled in the recent years. We were all left with the dull throbbing pain of dealing with being in the middle of Bethlehem, home of the Prince of Peace, in a town entombed by anger and fear and violence. On one wall was a mural by the artist Bansky, who drew a picture of the wall entombing a Christmas tree.
* Elias leaves us at the gate, having just learned of his 87 year old grandmother's death: prayers be with him.
* We left the security point by 7 in the evening, Iraeli/Jerusalem time, which is an hour later than Palestinian time! No buses! No taxis. We had to walk a dark street with few street lights, no traffice, only stillness.
* We finally made it (20 mintues later) to a bus stop, only to be met by an older Israeli who told us that "it isn't like the old days, when Palestinians knew their place, and we knew our place."
* Tonight, the waiter at our restaurant A Hazzar told us that he is Palestinian from Bethlehem. Even though it is 20 minutes away by car, it takes him 3 hours to simply get through the gate every morning of his working life. Why? He is Palestinian.

Buen Camino!

Shalom and Salaam, Brett

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Church of the Resurrection/Sepulchre

We started off this afternoon with a walk from St. Georges to the Jaffa gate, which is the northwest end of the Old City. We went through the Armenian Quarter (there are four quarters to the city: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Armenian), and we ate in the Jewish section at a restaurant that overlooks the entire old city of Jerusalem, including the Mount of Olives that we walked to this morning.

We made our way through the modern day Corda, which is the main shopping bazaar, seeing the ruins of the Corda from the 2nd century (Hadrian) at certain points. We walked into the Church of the Holy Resurrection/Sepulchre through the Ethiopian Coptic Chapel, which has a large painting of the Queen of Sheba talking with King Solomon, which is where they say their faith began. The Church is magnificent and a mess: there are some parts that are Greek Orthodox, other parts that are medieval Crusades, and still other parts that date to the 3rd century. There is the Anointing Stone where Jesus' body was anointed (though that was put there by the Greek Orthodox folks later); there is the stone where Jesus' cross was buried; there is the small little area that shows what the Jewish tombstones looked like, and the Chapel of Resurrection. The place was crammed with pilgrims, so we'll go back early in the morning to see some of the sights that were clogged with pilgrims.

Off to dinner!

Buen Camino!

Shalom and Salaam, Brett

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunrise from Mt. of Olives

Got up this morning at 5:15 A.M., to begin our morning trek up to the Mount of Olives. Interesting name, "Mount of Olives": it is a mount on the eastern edge of Jerusalem, overlooking the old city. We went through the Damascus Gate, down the Via Dolorosa (the trail Jesus supposedly walked to his death, but didn't...I'll explain later), and up the mountain to the top of the Mount of Olives. We left at 5:30 and got to the top by 6:30, just in time to watch the sun capture the gold dome of the Dome of the Rock (Muslim), and before most of the tourist "pilgrim" buses made it up to the top of the Mount. From this vantage point you can see the entirety of the Old City of Jerusalem, along with the rest of the City--the modern part--and notice all the Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands. It is breathtaking to see that this City is still in political and religious ferment after thousands of years.

We could see from our eagle's eye view the Jewish cemetery, along with the Catholic cemetery, all in the Kidron Valley. You could see where the wall went out further south during the reign of King David, along with the Crusader parts and Roman parts (Hadrian of Hadrian's Wall in Scotland). And modern Jerusalem is growing quickly.

We walked home along the northern edge of the City, traipsing to St. Georges College and Cathedral for breakfast. We'll take off on the second part of the pilgrimage at 12 noon, going deep into the Old City to see what was of Jesus time, what was of the Crusaders time, the Ottoman era, up to the 1967 war for the Western Wall.

Shalom and Salaam...

Buen Camino, Brett

Back in Jerusalem!

Good afternoon. It is 12:35 here in Jerusalem (JLM), and around 7 hours earlier in Chapel Hill, NC. I am writing this from the business office of St. Georges College and Cathedral's Guest House. It is a warm day--high in the 80s--and a dry heat, far different from the humid summer heat of NC.

The flight over was wonderfully uneventful. I sat by Eli, a young orthodox Jewish man from Brooklyn, NY, Flatbush area, who will live and go to school here for the next few months. I sat on the exit row seat so I got to stretch out, and sitting by the window, I could lean against the wall of the plane for good sleep: I slept for 7 hours over here. This morning I was awaken by the movement of several men with their prayer shawls on, large black hats, and other accessories of prayer, moving side to side, or backward and forward, reading and praying from their prayer books. I knew I was no longer in North Carolina.

On the shuttle from the airport to Jerusalem I sat by Mary Lou and Gene, Pentecostals who have a prayer ministry in this area. They have been here on and off since 1996, and truly feel the power of God in this land.

And this is what is amazing about this place: Christians, Jews, and Muslims claim this land that is about the size of New Jersey. And it is growing by leaps and bounds, with many Palestinians who own the land being moved out. And many of these Palestinians are Christians. It is impossible to be here and not be swept up into the religious and political dimensions of this land, culture, and people.

Shalom and Salaam!

Buen Camino!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the eve of going to Israel

It is the day before going to Israel. My life, and the lives of those going with me, will be forever changed, yet again.

I will blog daily from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee and back to Jerusalem, and possibly Tel Aviv.

Prayers for the journey ahead are welcome...and my prayers are with you!

Buen Camino!

Pilgrim peace, B

Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting Ready for a Pilgrimage to Israel

Getting ready to go to Israel for a pilgrimage! A group of three of us are going to spend time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, 3 days around Galilee/Nazareth/Golan Heights, and the Negev.

Your prayers are welcome! We all leave Sept. 22nd, and will be coming back October 4th.

I'll be blogging along the way. Keep tune here!

Buen Camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


In last week's lectionary reading there was this marvelous passage about preparing for Passover: "This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord" (Ex. 12:12).

This spoke volumes to me about pilgrimage: being ready to go at the drop of the hat. A few blogs ago, I wrote about the challenge of what life would look like if God had the audacity to simply say to us, "Pack up your things and go. I will take care of you and your loved ones. But go: I have a place and people for you to be part of." Or what would happen at the end of worship, after Eucharist was shared, we were told to "go, get going on your way, wherever God sends you." Rather than going to Applebees or Wendy's, we actually went the way that God directed us.

Pondering pilgrimage...buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jesus Set His Face To Jeruslaem: The Pilgrimage of Death and Resurrection Begins

In this Sunday's lectionary reading, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us that Jesus literally sets his face, his life, his feet to Jerusalem, going to his death and subsequent resurrection:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:21-23)

Of course, Peter couldn't understand what kind of pilgrimage they were all on as they followed the Christ. Peter wanted to pre-empt salvation's story, but rebuking the Creator of heaven and earth. Peter, who had just received the beatitude of life, being called "blessed," did not understand or comprehend what Jesus, and only Jesus, had to do and could do. The pilgrimage of his earthly ministry had to move forward. There was no turning back, regardless of what the disciples said or did.

The journey continues!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interim Ministry: Finding the Stride of A Congregation

This morning is my first Sunday morning preaching at First Presbyterian Church-Henderson. For anyone reading this blog from the Church, good morning! Being all about pilgrimage and the School of the Pilgrim, as I mentioned earlier, I understand my work this way: they, the congregation, have lost their once -upon-a-time pastor and thus pilgrim and pilgrim guide, a.k.a., the pastor. This morning, I am coming up to their side and walking with them for a short distance and time (all things considered, given that this is a congregation that is over 100 years old), and we shall walk a part of their story on the road before them.

Interim ministry--this short, temporary time and relationship--is meant to be a time of letting a congregation breathe, assess, figure out, discern where they--and God--want them to be going on the next leg of their journey as a congregation with their called-pastor.

Prayers for our journey together are appreciated!

And the Gospel text? Peter being called "the Rock, upon which I shall build my church," says Jesus. And where do we find rocks but on the road of life.

Rock and roll!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Palestinian Walks

Embedded in the this morning was a wonderful video clip called "Palestinian Walks," in which a Palestinian gentleman , Raja Jehadeh, walks the West Bank, laying out the physical and political challenges of this area. It is an incredibly moving "pilgrimage" clip, letting us see and hear the challenges and beauty of walking this land.

I am moved by watching the images of his buy bread in the morning at a corner stand, and wondering aloud if he would make it home that night because of the possibility that he would get shot for simply walking in the West Bank, with nothing more than a back-pack.

Incredibly moving.

Click here for more. The title of the book is "Palestinian Walks." Buy it!

Buen camino,

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Pilgrim Pastor: An Interim Pastorate at 1st Presbyterian Church, Henderson, NC

Approved by the Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery of New Hope, I am starting my sixth interim pastorate at First Presbyterian Church in Henderson, North Carolina! I am excited about this venture. My time will be 1/2 to 2/3 time, in which the other "1/2" will be focused on the School of the Pilgrim of course.

As I told the Committee, I see my work as interim as pilgrimage-in-practice in the Church: I come along the side of a church on pilgrimage, walk with them a little bit after their previous pastoral-guide leaves their side, and walk with them until their called pastor--and they--discover one another. I like doing this work part-time. It reminds me of why I am "the Rev." as well as "Dr." as well as pilgrim guide.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wandering God

In reading up on Barack Obama, reading his first book about growing up, Dreams of My Father, there was a verse attributed to Chronicles, which I can only find in the Psalms. I'll go looking again.

But I did find this verse in 1 Chronicles 17:1, 2: I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent. Nathan said to David, "Do all that you have in mind, for God is with you."

Nathan continues: "Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the lord: You shall not build me a house to live in. For i have not lived in a house since the day I brought out Israel to this very day, but I have lived in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people saying Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"

We are a pilgrim people, made for following a Pilgrim God, who moved his people Israel hither and yon, never leaving their side, but moving with them, as they moved with Yahweh.

No wonder pilgrimage is in our very blood as people of faith: the God who created us is a wandering God, the Pilgrim God.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

School of the Pilgrim: The Movie

Enjoy the movie, "The School of the Pilgrim!" We're now "up" on Youtube. Go to "," and enter "School of the Pilgrim," and that does it.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Feeling Hungry on Pilgrimage

I am in the middle of a pilgrimage route. My stomach will soon speak volumes to me with the first little "eek" of hunger pang. I learned on pilgrimage to keep drinking and eating, even if you don't feel the thirst or pang. I drink a lot, and eat more trail mix than I care to think about. I do what I learned on my first long bike ride (1700 miles from Spokane to San Francisco when I was eighteen years old): I eat as much as I want, when I want, however I want, because I am about to burn it off. On my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela I walked with a group of American women who kept on asking how they were going to keep the weight off that they had lost on the Camino when they got home.

Weight. Hunger. Thirst. Pangs. This is pilgrimage.

I''m working on this upcoming Sunday's sermon, based upon Jesus feeding the five thousand...those folks who were on pilgrimage, following the prophet, the miracle worker, the craftsperson, the learned rabbi from Nazareth. They came and listened to him as he preached in the middle of fields and from the end of boats.

In the middle of it all, Jesus showed hospitality, feeding the 5000 men, along with a few thousand more women and children (Matt.14:21). Having been hungry and thirsty on pilgrimage, I can only imagine the joy that swept the masses.

It is that hungry pang, that thirst, to draw closer to God, that mimics the physical hunger and thirst. And as a result of God knowing of this thirst, the result is amazing: bounty is the answer, provided none other than the God of creation.

Manna. Fish. Bread. Wine. Water.

All part of God, and God's good care of us all.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pilgrim Quotes

Of course, being ALL about the pilgrim and pilgrimage, I cannot help but find these quotes and pick up on them, reflect and ponder, and then write them down.

So this is today's quote: Abraham Cowley, "Curiosity does, no less than devotion, pilgrims make." As a writer, pastor, professor, and artist--and pilgrim--I have to say that Cowley's quote strikes me about right.  I am constantly asking, "What's coming around the next corner?" or the next day when I am on pilgrimage.

It is this "spirit" that I work toward integrating in my daily life.

Bien camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Martin Buber Understood Pilgrimage

Tonight on Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" radio show (7/26/08, broadcast/aired on WUNC, 91.5), Garrison made this point about pilgrimage and journey by the philosopher Martin Buber that I had to write about: All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. The truth of this statement in regards to pilgrimage resonated in the deepest parts of my life and life-experiences. On pilgrimage, while I think I know about the physical, geographical destination, clearly the relational, spiritual, educational, psychological, intellectual, and physical destination or goal or purpose remain, at best intangible...or at worst totally incomprehensible, and thus missed totally by the pilgrim or pilgrims. Buber simply reminds us that pilgrimage is not a "sure fire thing," in which goals and purposes and behaviors can be quantified, known, studied, put on a chart, examined, and parsed. Pilgrimage is all being in the moment, reflecting upon the moments, living in the wonder of it all, before, during and afterwards.

The journey is "on"!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love": A Woman's Wondrous Pilgrimage

"Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark." (p. 175)

Elizabeth Gilbert has a Kierkegaardian sense to her, all right! She continues:
"If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be...a prudent insurance policy. I'm not interested in the insurance industry. I'm tired of being a skeptic, I'm irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate...I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water."

I'm going to share clips from this book in the weeks to come. Pretty interesting pilgrimage she is on...more of a personal quest than a holy pilgrimage. Interesting and beautiful and insightful nonetheless.


Buen Camino!

Peace of pilgrims, Brett

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our New School of the Pilgrim Promotion Slide Show

With the techie expertise of Dr. Wally Hannum, photos by Jaqui Tutt of NZ, and music from Spain, we present to you the new promotional slide show of the School of the Pilgrim!


Click here to enjoy!

Buen camino!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jacob's Ladder: A Life of Faith in Motion

This morning's Old Testament reading was a perfect reminder of how much the Holy Scriptures are all about navigating the road of the pilgrims' life: Jacob's ladder from Gen. 28:10-19 captured the calling of God's people to be people on the move, in motion, in faith: Jacob dreamt there was a ladder set up on earth reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending, with God telling him that the land that he lies on will be given to him and his offspring, who will be like dust on the earth, spread to the west, east, north and south. And we will know that God is with us!

The assurance that God is with us, whether we think we are with God or not, is then echoed in today's Psalm, a favorite of mine: Ps. 139: "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there." God is our constant companion.

Even the Gospel of Matthew resonated with a wandering farmer who spreads good seed in the field.

In our lives as pilgrims on earth, it is all about moving and motion, in faith, by grace, with love. God chose and continues to choose us to be a pilgrim people, God's pilgrim people, to keep sharing the love of God, and news of God's realm and reign far and wide.

Time is God's time: we are God's people moving with the Spirit, following the Spirit God!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

School of the Pilgrim: A Validated Ministry of New Hope Presbytery

Yesterday morning, Tue., July 15, 2008, under an omnibus motion, the School of the Pilgrim was made a "validated ministry of New Hope Presbytery."


From what was almost ten years ago a wisp of a dream, an inkling, a simple naming "School of the Pilgrim," to being both a religious non-profit/501c3 and a validated ministry of New Hope Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2008, offering a bevy of pilgrimages in 2008 and 2009 is say the least.

This is truly God's doing; a gift of grace.

A big "thank you" to all of you who support the School in your prayers, volunteering of time and effort, and financially. It is because of your support, as a community of pilgrims, that all of this validation is occurring.

What does this all mean? Simple:
* The School of the Pilgrim is more than a pipe-dream or a flirtatious idea: it is real and tangible, understood as legitimate by a part of the Church universal;
* I can go into meetings about future pilgrimage events and explain to people who run conference centers, pilgrimage sites, and continuing education offices that we are a validated ministry of the PCUSA, giving us a legitimacy that does not hurt in sharing the virtues of the practice of pilgrimage;
* This validation provides me and others who work with the School and are ordained the possibility of full benefits, including pension, health, disability, death, and dental care;
* This validation is also helpful in writing grants and loan applications in terms of giving us a legitimacy that most grant-funding organizations look for in applicants.

Many thanks!

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jesus Trail: Traveling the Old Country

"Walking the Jesus Trail" was a recent article in the News and Observer. Two entrepreneurs built the trail walking in the "footsteps of Jesus," for forty miles. David Landis and Maoz Inon began and blazed this trail that connects with Nazareth with K(C)ana, to Arbel Cliffs, Tabgha, Mout of Beatitudes, to the Jordan River. I didn't see it connecting with Mt. Tabor/Mount of Transfiguration.

Now no one knows exactly where Jesus walked. And we are sure it wasn't in a circle like this pilgrimage. It is clear that Jesus grew up in Nazarth, Cana is where there was a miracle; Mount of Beatitudes is near the spot where Peter was surprised to find Jesus, in his post-resurrection glory, cooking fish for b'fast. Having been there, seen that, loved it, it is clear that Egeria, who wrote of these places in her diary, learned of these places from the Byzantines who took care of these places since the day of, um, Jesus.

Go to this link ""


And click here for the article.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Trading Backpacks with Jesus

The Gospel reading for this Sunday is from Matt. 11, in which Jesus invites us to switch yoke and backpacks with him.

What a great invitation. What an audacious request. What a hard commandment to keep. On this pilgrimage of life I am well-acquainted with all of the brick-brack that I have accumulated and bring along with me in life. My back-pack is filled with everything that I thought was necessary to bring along, weighing me down day by day, slowing my walk on the pilgrim trail, until I begin to no longer find my stride with God, but start to almost crawl. Fearing that God cannot handle the items that I put in my sack, I weigh myself down unnecessarily.

Then along comes this verse: take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, and I shall give you rest. It is not "may give you rest," but "shall." So I stop, take off my backpack, and trade with Jesus and take his backpack. It is lighter, and I can move far more easily, finding my stride again in walking with the Companion of this journey.

Pilgrims: this is a verse we should read daily and not every three years.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Friday, July 4, 2008


Sitting by a young man, Troy, on a flight from Newark to Charlotte on my way home to Raleigh, Troy volunteered that he felt that God was "calling me to be in the wilderness." He loved the idea of pilgrimage, and thought he'd give us a "look-see" soon.

So God does call people into the wilderness, even today.

And what does wilderness mean to us today?

Does it mean to be in a place that is stripped bare of all that we are dependent upon in terms of material needs? Troy himself was reading a book on the necessity of fasting, declaring to me that he was going to go through a five day fast soon. Is our wilderness a place we put ourselves, or God's Spirit places us?

Wilderness talk on July 4th: amazing!

Pilgrim peace,


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mapping Buddha

In today's Oregonian there is an interesting article on mapping the way of Buddhist beliefs. While on the "outside" of being Buddhist seems easier-said-than-done, apparently being "inside" the Buddhist tradition makes it no easier. The book, "Mapping the Dharma" by Paul Gerhards, charts and lists key parts of Buddha's s teachings called the Dharma: the Three characteristics of Existence, the Seven Factors for Awakening, and the list goes on.

For pilgrims of all faiths, I thought this was a meaningful line: "The Buddha said that a map is not the's merely a tool of discovery" said Gerhard. On pilgrimage, our stories become a map that enable us to discover the world of pilgrim's yearning.

Click here for more.

Pilgrim peace,


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Elias Chacour and the School of the Pilgrim

I heard a great sermon and spoke briefly with the Rev. Dr. Bishop Elias Chacour this morning at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Rev. Chacour is a Palestinian Christian who lives in the West Bank who preached this morning before the participants of this Assembly. He is, by his own confession, a "living contradiction": Palestinian, Christian and Israeli.

As he was walking out of one meeting to another I button-holed him with a card of the School of the Pilgrim, which led to possible connections in the future with the School of the Pilgrim.

His invitation was clear: he wanted us to go and visit the Holy Land, to see what is happening to the Palestinian people. He said that Christians are leaving as quickly as possible from this part of the world because of the violence.

It is time for a change in that part of the world.

Buen camino,

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Support for the School of the Pilgrim

I am in the middle of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting in San Jose, California. Since I arrived on Sat. afternoon at 1:00 P.M., to the time I began writing this blog, I have found myself handing out cards and book marks to and of the School of the Pilgrim to at least 20-50 people. Along with "how are you?" discussions, I have found myself drifting to conversations about the School of the Pilgrim.

What have I found in these conversations?

Affirmation; support; love; admiration; and people who want to support the mission of the School of the Pilgrim.

This is exciting. There is nothing like coming into this context and finding support.

For example, in signing books at the Cokesbury Bookstore pavilion at the Assembly, I found myself telling three people about going on pilgrimage in the coming year. Today, at the reception for the new Moderator I found myself giving business cards away. Lunch and dinner were about conversations re: the School of the Pilgrim. And there will be more opportunities in the coming days.

Your prayers, support, financial gifts, make this an exciting time.


Buen camino!

Pace, Brett

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jesus Went About All the Cities and Villages

In the Gospel of Matthew 9:35-10:8, the reading opens up with Jesus on his pilgrimage: Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them ,because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. The he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into God's harvest.'"

Fantastic! When I saw that this was the reading for this coming Sunday, and heard it read aloud, I thought to myself, "I need to read this more often on pilgrimage." I know that reading and hearing these passages in context, or different contexts, matters. Imagine hearing these words read while on pilgrimage to Santiago, or in Jerusalem, or in St. Patrick's Purgatory. The one who is the embodiment of the kingdom, the realm, the dominion of God, going around on his earthly pilgrimage teaching spontaneously in synagogues in the countryside, or talking in open meadows to those who were simply eager to hear the good news and see the good news in action.


Buen Camino!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Long Road Ahead...and a Little Help From Our Friends, in Heaven and Earth

On pilgrimage I keep learning and re-learning these two lessons: first, the road, the journey, the trek, the pilgrimage is long. Second: because it is long, we can always use the help of our friends, whether on earth or in heaven, e.g., the footsteps of saints before us, as well as those saints among us.

This lesson came to the fore in reading Andrew Sullivan's blog,, and a quote from Tim Russert, who died on Friday, June 13th:

"I’m someone who grew up taught by the Sisters of Mercy and the Jesuits. And both those nuns and those priests taught me, and taught us, my classmates, how to pray--that it simply wasn't the recitation of memorized prayer but meditation and contemplation.

The situation you're talking about is when my wife was in labor for a long time, I walked out of the hospital and walked around the corner and there was a church. And actually, it was a shrine to Saint Elizabeth who is the mother of Mary, the mother of God, which is more than ironic and important.

And so I, constantly, realize it's a long road, it's a long journey, and we can't get there alone. And so I'm very open and find it quite necessary to ask for help and assistance and inspiration. And that comes in a very powerful way in the form of prayer," - Tim Russert, great Catholic.

Russert is correct: we cannot get there to heaven's gates, or realize that the domain of God is breaking into our world through gestures of hospitality and kindness, except with a little assistance and inspiration. Or as my friend Richard Rodriguez would remind me: Me against God is a losing case. We need grace to approach the throne of God...along with the saints, the candles, the incense, the cross on the wall, and the bells tolling and music playing.

Or as the Beatles remind us, "Oh, we get by with a little help from our friends..."

Buen camino!



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

School of the Pilgrim: Becoming a Validated Ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Today I met with members of the Committee on Ministry of New Hope Presbytery, presenting my case to make the School of the Pilgrim a validated ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA). After presenting the ideas behind the School of the Pilgrim, I had an opportunity to answer some questions, and then they voted "Affirmative!" This means that it goes forward to the entire Presbytery on July 15, 2008!

Thanks for the prayers!

Buen Camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The First Pilgrimage in the Jewish-Christian Tradition: "Go from your country"

Today's Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture in the Revised Lectionary was from Genesis 12:1-3, in which the passage was the following: Yahweh said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

This is the first pilgrimage narrative that establishes the practice of pilgrimage for the Jewish and Christian communities of faith. And it is wonderful and scary. Let me begin with the scary: the call of faith that Abram follows-through with, moving forward and leaving the known home and the land he knows so well, with Sarai, unto the unknown. There were no hotels or private Albergues or Refugios: only nomad meeting nomad.

The wonderful part? That Abram and Sarai did move forward, and did depend upon God, and God did deliver. God delivers, lives up to God's promise, meaning that we don't have to be "God" on our pilgrimages. God will provide.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dealing with What is Before Us On Our Pilgrim's Path

One of the lessons that I've learned on pilgrimage is the art of dealing with what is right before me on the pilgrim's path. Sounds simple, huh? There are times in life that we some times create crisis when a crisis is not, well, needed. Likewise, while there are crisis that we meet along life's pilgrim's path, there are times we'd rather avoid the mess before us. On life's piglrims' path, maybe what we need to do is, first avoid starting crises when no crises is needed, and second, not to avoid the crisis we meet me along life's path.

Here is where pilgrimage teaches us how to navigate life's path!

Buen camino!

Peace, B

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Do Not Worry About Your Life": The Lesson of Fields...Easier Said Than Done on Life's Pilgrimage

On the second Sunday after Pentecost, the Gospel reading in the lectionary was Matthew 6:24-34. What stood out in the reading were these words, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith?

Yes. Yes we are.

"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."


On pilgrimage, what I learned and re-learned, yet had to learn again is that what I needed in life on the pilgrim's way is always on the way of coming to me. I tend to worry about tomorrow and fail to remember and realize that God's grace is an "always given" in our pilgrimage.

Bordering on "Don't worry, be happy" of Bobby McFearrin fame, the lesson of life is learning to walk in the way of God.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trinity Sunday: Eternal Mystery, Wondrous Reality

A quick note here (as I run off and do too many things on this Sabbath day): today is celebrated as Trinity Sunday in the Western Church: O Happy Day! It is a day in which we remember, celebrate, and are reminded that we worship a Triune God, One in three Persons, Blessed the hymn goes.

I am fixated on the above icon and what it means for pilgrimage. The three figures--undoubtedly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--are gathered around the elements for the sacrament of Eucharist. This Eucharist is food for the journey, which continually nurtures us, no matter what. For us on pilgrimage, or aware that we are on a pilgrimage in our daily life, this day is a reminder that we worship a community who follows, walks with us, leads us, and sets before us the pathway, and is the pathway, that we trod upon.

Happy Day of Trinity Wonders!

Bien Camino,

Pilgrim peace,


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost and Beyond! The Pilgrimage of the Christian Life Continues

I am writing this on Pentecost: to my kith and kin who are following this blog, the Western Church celebrates this day as our Pentecost, while my Eastern Church kith and kin celebrates Pentecost in a few more weeks.

On this day, we read from Acts 2, remember the wind, the fire, the gathering of people, groups speaking in different or foreign tongues that were not taught to them but descended upon them as a gift of the Holy Spirit, who is truly God not only "with us" but "among us" and "in us." On this day we celebrate the birth of the Church in its more-or-less current form.

But the Church is, has been, and will ever be, where "two or three are gathered in my name, and I will be there": the Church is when we meet one another on the pilgrim-way of life. While I understand the importance of sacred places and the architecture of the faith, on this day I am brought back to this point: we celebrate this day that God breathes, lives, works, worships, prays, and serves others in, through, by, and some times, despite, of us.

What was publicly and personally celebrated over 2000 years ago continues to live on this very day wherever we may be along the pilgrim-way of life.

Bien Camino!

Pilgrim peace,


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pilgrims, American Style: Tony Horwitz's New Book on Pilgrims, American Style

On, there was a good review of Tony Horwitz's new book, A Voyage Long and Strange, covering not only the Pilgrims who made their way to the shores of what we call America in 1627, but other people from other lands who preceded the group of faithful Protestants who left England for the Netherlands to the shores of what was then considered the "New World." Horwitz chronicles the presence of Spaniards, French, and Icelandic explorers who came to the land because of its timber, its animal pelts, its fish, and for other reasons: religious freedom among many of them.

Horwitz looked at the near failure of the English separatists upon a boat we fondly call "The Mayflower." He talks about Amerigo Vespucci's mythic explanation of huge women that people would find in the new world. It was a land of incredible hope, opportunity, fear, native people who were not of European origin, and hopeful wealth.

It has been said that pilgrimage is over people in Europe. In the new world, pilgrimage was over land. Enjoy this book that tells our nation's story.

Click here for more.

Bien camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Running to Pentecost: Has it Really Been 50 Days Since Easter

Having preached on the theme of Ascension Sunday at Southminster Presbyterian Church, Beaverton, Oregon this past Sunday, it is hard for me to fathom that the trail continues onward toward Pentecost!?

What is impressive to me is how the holy/Holy Days truly become "markers" or "milestones" or points of reference, like we use for travel on the road. When visiting my home town of Portland, OR, I know where I am because of the significant monuments or known sites and sounds that steer me to where I want to go. I get totally lost when the monuments and markers of the known sites and streets move.

Having passed Ascension Sunday, I pick up my stuff, put it back in life's back-pack, and move on ahead to the next stopping point in the Christian life-long pilgrimage: Pentecost!

Bien camino!

Peace of the Pilgrim God,


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Torah that Took a Pilgrimage

Fascinating story in the New York Times this morning about a Torah that took a pilgrimage from Auschwitz to New Jersey:

"It is the story of a sexton in the synagogue in the Polish city of Oswiecim who buried most of the sacred scroll before the Germans stormed in and later renamed the city Auschwitz. It is the story of Jewish prisoners who sneaked the rest of it — four carefully chosen panels — into the concentration camp.

It is the story of a Polish Catholic priest to whom they entrusted the four panels before their deaths. It is the story of a Maryland rabbi who went looking for it with a metal detector. And it is the story of how a hunch by the rabbi’s 13-year-old son helped lead him to it."

While pilgrimages all have their own narratives, depending upon the pilgrim him- or herself, this is the story of a narrative in written form that was on a pilgrimage, dependent upon the people who helped guard and guide itself safely to its new home.

Read more by clicking here.
Bien Camino!

Shalom, Brett

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ascension Reflections

While Jesus' earthly pilgrimage was fairly "earth bound," give or take a transcendent moment on Mt. Tabor (Transfiguration and all), this all changed with his ascension into heaven. This is an unexpected twist to the story of resurrection glory, when the Pilgrim God ascends to take his place in the cosmic realm of God's love, in order that the Holy Spirit can descend unto those of us who were to follow the disciples of yore.

This story is simply a reminder that the Holy and the earthly are forever entwined in our living together, one with the other.

Bien camino!

pilgrim peace, Brett

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Easter Blessings to my Orthodox Readers!

Today is Easter in the Orthodox Church tradition. My friend Risa Poniros--who is Greek Orthodox--has been a wonderful pilgrim who has taught me much about the Greek Orthodox tradition by first asking me, "Did you see 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'? That's my family." And her family taught and teaches me much about the Greek Orthodox tradition.

On pilgrimage to the Middle East last year, the Greek Orthodox monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the monks at St. Catherine of the Sinai Monastery proved to be able pilgrim guides on an incredible journey.

Dear friends of the Orthodox tradition: Easter Blessings!

Bien Camino!

Pilgrim peace,