I have always wanted to go to two places in the world. Africa and the Holy Land. By the grace of God, I now will have been blessed to do both. This primal yearning is as mysterious as any of ours but I imagine it is because life originated from Africa and new life flowed from the Holy Land.  Africa was the dawn of creation and the Holy Land the dawn of our salvation.In a sense then we all share in both places.

I am stunned that for at least one week I will call home where Jesus did. And as much as nearly everything has changed in two thousand years, they have not moved the Sea of Galilee and the sun still rises and sets as He saw it. Olive trees can live two thousand years; which young tree witnessed that young man walked by. And the holy sites we will visit not only echo the words spoken and the miracles and the compassion of God-with-us, they have been made somehow even holier for the prayers and adoration that have occurred there since Jesus and his friends first changed water into wine, or multiplied loaves and fish, or cured a leper, or spoke of whom God surprisingly has blessed. Or died for all of us. Or rose from the dead.
I joked this morning that mass schedule for the week was Rosa Road on Monday, Union Street on Tuesday, Bethlehem on Thursday, Galilee on Friday, the church of the Holy Sepulcher on Saturday and the Garden of Gethsemane on Sunday. But today’s readings really fit my day. Incredibly enough, we heard of David triumphantly and joyously bringing the ark into Jerusalem for the first time. And in the Gospel , as Jesus’ family insisted on speaking with him while he was with others, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” On Sunday I said that all I have preached about for twenty years has been “there.” Now I will be able to say it happened “Here.” But perhaps the true excitement is that which happened where I will be a pilgrim made every place “here” for his presence is never foreign and his closeness is universal. This journey is about the place that made us family.
Thank you for all of your prayers and your prayer I carry with me. Each day promised to be very busy, but I will do my best to keep you up to date on the blog.

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