Day 11 not counting Sundays.
Yesterday’s Gospel lesson had a reference to the city of Jerusalem. Some pastors dealt with that reference very directly, and brought their congregations in on Jerusalem of the present day. We’ve talked about being on the road with Jesus to Jerusalem during Lent, as we travel toward the Cross. I have always longed to visit there, having spent so much of my life studying biblical stories of Jerusalem. It is about as complicated a city as can be. Our New England Synod has close formal and informal ties with Jerusalem, through personal and ecclesial friendships.
We have a strong relationship with Lutherans in Jerusalem through our Synod partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. You can visit their website if you are curious about what it is like to be a Lutheran Christian living in the land where Jesus walked:
We have exchanged a number of mission visits with them, and their Bishop Munib Younan has visited here, too. He was the keynote speaker at one of our Synod Assemblies a few years ago. He’s a powerhouse, a wonderful, vibrant speaker, tireless worker for Christian-Muslim-Jewish peace and justice. You can read his keynote here.
A beautiful powerpoint presentation called Stations of the Cross Pilgrimage was also offered at the same Assembly (2007) by Pastor Tim Keyl. Pastor Keyl’s presentation was a photo-essay of his own travels to the Holy Land with a Synod mission trip. To see the presentation go here. It takes about a minute to download, so please wait. The text for the presentation is included here.
Our Bishop Margaret Payne has traveled there several times, most recently with an interreligious peace-making mission representing the ELCA for Presiding Bishop Hanson. She kept a blog of her trip, thoughtful, of course, with beautiful pictures. You might want to read it: here.
Sometimes a travel blog can show us some of the complexity first hand.
Another site to visit to learn a little more about Jerusalem is the UN website. I went there to get some more background information on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The UN site is worth a visit, just on its own merits for more information than one could ask or imagine. Here.
Best of all, if you haven’t been there, maybe someone you know has, and can tell you about it. I’m always surprised by the number of people who have traveled to Jerusalem. Check the Synod website for news of upcoming mission trips to the Holy Land. Perhaps we can send someone from St. Paul.
On the journey this Lent, please pray for Jerusalem, that beautiful, wounded, vibrant, sacred city.