Friday, November 26, 2010
The gauntlet that I threw down to the "ordinary" life in going on this pilgrimage is living un-tethered, un-hooked from the daily obligations.
As I re-connect, I find that everyone survived and thrived without my being around.
It's all good.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and live as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression...bringing us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm."
Powerful when the Scripture points to where I just left, literally and figuratively, the last few days.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Just returned to the States after a wondrous pilgrimage in the desert of the Sinai.
One of the things I learned was to be in awe of what is around the corner, or over the mountain, or through the gap we walked through in our time in the desert.
Next year: third week of November, we're going on pilgrimage in the Sinai again. More information forthcoming.
Friday, November 19, 2010
We traveled a part of the desert that I did not traverse last year, and that made all the difference. Warmer than last year as well, sleeping in t-shirt and boxers in the evening rather than long sleeve t-shirts and pants.
Next years pilgrimage in the desert is in the works: third week or so of November, flying in and out of Cairo, with focus on the Desert Fathers--like St. Antony--and Desert Mothers--like St. Catherine--and four nights/five days on camel in the Sinai.
More to come!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Smooth flights from Raleigh-Durham to Atlanta, and then Atlanta to Tel Aviv. I was picked up from the airport by a van--Nesher--and taken to St. George's Guest House, Cathedral, and College. Here, I met six of the other pilgrims, plus Jaqlynne, from the Netherlands (doing a documentary on German Jews who were refugees in the Netherlands during WWII). We all walked to Pasha's for dinner, with a table spread of food and wine. Delicious!
This morning (Sunday) there was a leisurely breakfast of meats, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumbers, pitas, eggs, hummus, grapes, olives, and other savory and delectible treats. Strong coffee helped me stay awak for the Arabic-English worded worship in the Cathedral this morning.
Soon we were off to see some sights: we walked the noisy and fascinating throngs of Palestinians in E. Jerusalem, walking through Damascus Gates toward Joffa St. We grabbed lunch at a small whole in the wall (more hummus), and then one of the other pilgrims (Debbie) and I made a bee-line for the Israel Museum. We toured the Shrine of the Book, housing the Dead Sea Scrolls, and looked at the model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. Then we ducked into the Modern Museum, which has recently been re-opened, and were fascinated by the modern and contemporary art, along with work by contemporary Jewish artists.
Dinner was back in E. Jerusalem, at a favorite restaurant, Al Azahras. Delicious. All the pilgrims were there. I'm one of the two youngest on the trek among the eleven of us.
Tomorrow is a bright and shine morning: meeting at 6 and on the bus to Eilat by 7. We cross the border into Taba, Egypt, and soon whisked into the desert-land of the Sinai Peninsula.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Not sure what is ahead--which is the treat of being a pilgrim--but going to Egypt with the ease of grace to know all will be well; lives will be changed; and throwing down a challenge to the ordinariness of life, being open to the Spirit.
I leave tomorrow on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, for Tel Aviv, arriving on Sat. afternoon, and then off to Jerusalem. From Jerusalem to Egypt on Monday morning. Then five days in the Sinai: two days in a jeep and walking, and three days on camel back.
Eager to see what the Spirit is opening me up to in the mystery of the desert.
Buen camino, wherever you may be,
p.s., pic of my friend Moussaa and Brett
Friday, November 5, 2010
Of the three archaic reasons for travel - call them «war», «trade», and «pilgrimage» - which one gave birth to tourism? Some would automatically answer that it must be pilgrimage. The pilgrim goes «there» to see, the pilgrim normally brings back some souvenir; the pilgrim takes «time off» from daily life; the pilgrim has non-material goals. In this way, the pilgrim foreshadows the tourist.
But the pilgrim undergoes a shift of consciousness, and for the pilgrim that shift is real. Pilgrimage is a form of initiation, and initiation is an opening to other forms of cognition.
As I get ready to go on a pilgrimage with School of the Pilgrim, these are good words to remember.