This afternoon, we have a little down time on our pilgrimage. A number of folks have headed out to various walking destinations in Jerusalem. I have opted to spend some quiet time in my ‘cell.’ In part, this is due to feeling a bit puny (a few days ago I forgot my rule to never eat ground meat in a foreign country), but just as much it reflects a need to decompress and find a sense of grounding.
Taking in so much in a short period of time can be overwhelming: visiting numerous holy sites and historically significant destinations, spending time in prayer and worship, and getting to know new friends. Hearing heartfelt stories from people who have lived their entire lives in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Muslims, Jews, Arabs, ex-patriots. Franciscans from Italy, Sisters of Mercy, Arab Christians, Palestinian Christians, German Christians. Heart-wrenching stories. If we listen with compassion, we hear human suffering, frailty and hope on every side. One of our guides tells us, “If you are confused, that’s a very good sign.”
Definitely, it’s complicated.
But there is one aspect that is simple. That is universal. We all long for a sense of home. Physically. Spiritually. Emotionally. There have been moments on this glorious journey when I find myself longing for home, ready to return to those places and relationships that give me a sense of wholeness and connection.
Pictured here is a simple mural. It remembers a place of peace and tranquility, where quality of life is possible for all. In it, one can detect that deep sense of longing we all share. The longing for home.
On a side note, various folks at home have been asking about the new ministry upon which I am embarking — ministry that will build a bridge between our neighbors most at risk and those among us (churched, unchurched or “dechurched”) feeling a need for a deeper ministry of action, of ministry with those who are different or most often overlooked. “What will it be called?” is a question I get asked a lot. This has caused me some anxiety because I simply could not come up with a name. A couple of nights ago I got the brilliant idea to ask God to provide a name. In the middle of the night I woke up with the words “The Way Home.”
In the coming weeks, with the collaboration of those who feel drawn to this kind of welcoming community, more will be revealed.
In the meantime, how does the name “The Way Home” strike you?