Rustlings (August 8, 2016)

There are some things of which I never tire. From my early days of kindergarten until now, I have loved chocolate milk. I’ve worn out an album, 8-track tape, cassette and two CD’s of Carole King’s Tapestry, and I still listen to it regularly on iTunes. I’ve read Jonathan Livingston Seagull at least once a year since sixth grade, and I’m not sure how many times I’ve viewed Shawshank Redemption, Apollo 13, and A Few Good Men. There are some things of which I never tire.

I never get tired of traveling to Israel. The peaceful Galilee and the bustling old city of Jerusalem are thick with sacredness and filled with personal memories of past pilgrimages. Many of you have asked when another pilgrimage will be offered. I have made reservations for 20 pilgrims to travel to Israel for the second Motherland Pilgrimage on April 17-28, 2017. We will again trace the life of Jesus – from the annunciation to Mary in Nazareth to the Jerusalem tomb – through the eyes of the women in the gospel narratives. We will spend prayerful time in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Magdala, Caesarea Philippi, and of course Jerusalem. We will make a side-trip into the desert to visit Qumran, the Dead Sea and Masada. This pilgrimage will differ from the last in a couple of ways. Rather than a hotel, during our first five nights in Galilee we will stay at Pilgerhaus. This convent is situated on the banks of the Sea of Galilee in Tabgha – the site of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 with loaves and fishes. Its guests are hosted by the resident nuns. Staying on these grounds is an experience all its own. And, while in Jerusalem, we will spend one day exploring the gifts and struggles of Judaism. We will visit the Wailing Wall, the Yad Vashem (holocaust museum) and possibly Oscar Schindler’s grave if time allows.

I’ve never been on a pilgrimage that I did not grow closer to God and my fellow pilgrims. I hope you will prayerfully consider traveling with me this Spring. Or, if you have means but do not have time, consider sponsoring another pilgrim who might not be able to afford the experience. If you have interest, please contact Jenna Manning in the church office. She will keep a list of potential pilgrims and contact you when information/interest meetings are scheduled. Shalom!

— Jim