Friday, June 3, 2011

My Least Favorite Place

From Holy Land

I came to the Holy Land to see old, religious things. I wanted to see my faith stories come alive. I wanted to have a divine intersection with God in places I had only imagined before. I wanted to leave with joy in my heart due to my faith.

All in all that happened except for one tour. The tour of the Holocaust Museum on the Mount of Remembrance. Yad Veshem The origin of the name is from a Biblical verse: "And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem) that shall not be cut off"

I had been to a concentration camp before that told part of the story. I think it is good to educate people on what happened so that it possibly won't happen again, but I wasn't up for another visit. I knew it would be depressing. I knew I wouldn't like it.

I was right.

Reading of the hate, the fear, and the evil that went on during this time bothered me. It bothered me because I didn't understand how people could do that or let that happen but it also bothered me because I didn't know what I would do if I were a citizen of Nazi Germany.

Would I have left? Would I have hidden someone? Would I have kept my mouth shut? Or would they have brain washed me too so that I even thought it was right?

That last question haunted me most of all. I know there must have been "good" people who agreed with their leaders because "good" people listen to the governmental authorities.

Seeing the relics and pictures made me hurt for "these people" who were really no different than me. They too had a faith that defined them and were punished for it.

As I walked into the hall of names, I was overwhelmed with grief and embarrassment. What does God think of us that we let this happen?

At the exit, we got to see a beautiful view of Jerusalem and even though this was my least favorite place, I still think its worth the visit and I felt that I must tell people to remember that it's not always enough to just spread God's Love. Sometimes you have to stop the evil too.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

St. John

From Holy Land

From Holy Land

I've always had an affinity for the name John. My maiden name was Johns and I dated four different guys named John until I finally found the right one. I didn't plan it that way. It just happened.

So when John and I had our first son I told him he only had two choices: Either a John Jr or a John with a different middle name. We opted for the different middle name.

When we found out later we were going to have a second son, we were stumped. We'd used out best names on the first child, so this was going to take some planning. We looked through our family tree and ruled out Axenty and Cebia.

Finally we looked in a baby name book. I was getting nervous until we got to the "S"s. When I got to Shane, we both liked the sound of it. Then we saw its meaning - Irish for John! Perfect!

During my trip we visited the church on the site where John the Baptist was born. On the walls of the courtyard were mosaics from different countries with the "Blessed be the fruit of thy womb" scripture on them.

Just like Joseph knew his son was to be named John, I knew as well. I didn't know that I'd have two sons (who are so different) with the "same" name.

Perhaps one day my two sons will prepare the way for something great and they'll tear down Piedmont Hospital and put a church for pilgrims to visit.

But until then, I'll keep telling them of the possibility of great things and hope that they choose wisely when the time comes.

Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Butterflies

From Holy Land

There are two spots in Jerusalem that people visit as sites of Jesus' death and burial. One is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is the traditional site. Today, the church is home to Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. The church is very crowded and dark and hard to get a feel for what might have happened here. Below is a picture of the stone where they believe Jesus' body was prepared for burial.

From Holy Land

The Garden Tomb is a more recently promoted site. It too can make a good case that it was actually where Jesus died and was buried but what is better about this site is that it has been restored to look and feel like it might have been in 33 AD. You can actually walk into a burial cave and see where a stone would have covered it. You can see a skull in the stone formations near by and it was obviously once a garden (which is why the Mary's thought Jesus was a gardener).

This was one of our last stops on the trip so we decided to partake in Holy Communion while we were there. As our liturgist was reading the service, I looked around at the beautiful garden. I prayed for my friends and family, particularly one who had asked for healing who was heavy on my heart that morning.

As I looked over toward the rocky side of the tomb, I could see the shadow of the flowers from the garden. And for just a brief second I saw the shadow of a butterfly. I'd been looking for a butterfly for my friend the entire trip and found it here at the site of the resurrection. I knew in that moment my friend would be ok. Jesus would pull her through and that our bond was brought together by God so that we could hold each other up.

On the way out I found what I had been looking for: butterfly note cards. I bought them for her to let her know that healing is always nearby if we just reach out and ask for it.

Until Everyone Hears,

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