Toppling Walls (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 9)

Though the locals call it the City of David, this ancient neighborhood long predates the era of King David. Said to be the oldest part of Jerusalem, the City of David’s walls date back to the ninth century before Christ. Jerusalem’s first permanent residents fortified their city in a way that ensured an ample supply of clean water and that offered them protection against northern invaders. Solomon expanded Jerusalem’s walls, as did the Romans, the Ottomans, and the Crusaders. We studied city... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Sunday, April 10, 2016
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The Many Roads to Emmaus (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 8)

Jesus appeared to his disciples on the road to Emmaus, but he had to walk a lot of other roads before he got there. When Jesus traveled from Bethpage to Jerusalem along the Palm Sunday route that we walked Thursday morning, he was headed almost straight downhill. His borrowed (stolen?) donkey would have had to brace itself against the force of gravity that wanted to roll them both down the hill. With every labored step of his steed, Jesus’ view of... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Friday, April 8, 2016
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It's Complicated (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 7)

Before we left for the Holy Land, our pilgrims had a briefing with someone who knows a great deal about Middle East politics. We asked him what one thing we most needed to know, and he said: “It’s complicated.” He was right.  Up north, we met with two professional women, each in their middle forties; one works in education and the other in technology. They introduced themselves to us as Arab Palestinian Christian Israelis. It’s complicated. This is how I understand the words that... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Wednesday, April 6, 2016
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Going to the Margins (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 6)

As an undergraduate geology student, I learned that the most interesting things happen at the margins – the places where two different things interact: Sea and shore, air and water, people and places. Aside from a tourism trip to float in the Dead Sea, our pilgrimage group spent the majority of our time on Tuesday going to the margins. We began by renewing our baptismal promises on the banks of the Jordan River, which is both the baptismal site of... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Wednesday, April 6, 2016
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An Early Mothers' Day: Bethlehem Reflections from Hester and Sandy

The Reverend Sandy Webb and the Reverend Hester Mathes both wrote at the end of a challenging day in and around Bethlehem on Monday, each of them reflecting on Biblical mothers memorialized in these sacred spaces, on land that is marked by conflict as well as by faith: Mothers' Day The Reverend Sandy Webb Mothers' Day came early for us this year.  We started Monday with a visit to the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have visited her sister, Elizabeth, while they... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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Prayers for Peace (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch from Bill and Carmine Vaughan)

We left the states in the midst of Presidential primaries, where debaters had no patience for compromise, reason or negotiated settlements, and we arrived in Israel to see people separated by twenty-foot walls, barbed-wire fences, people not speaking the same language. At the College of St. George, we were greeted by an Anglican staff who spoke of reconciliation and prayed for peace for all mankind. The devoted staff of Christians accept people exactly as they are and are prayerfully... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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Here and There (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 5)

Church of the Holy Communion seemed especially far away today.  I have been at “Holy C” long enough that I always feel a little off when my feet aren’t behind its altar on Sunday morning, but that was especially true on this Youth Sunday – one of my favorite days of the entire church year and a project that I have watched our youth work hard to prepare over the last several months. My heart was both here and there this morning, and perhaps that was the best possible way to approach our... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, April 4, 2016
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What is Truth? (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 4)

Jesus had a hard time with Chorazin, and so did we. For Jesus, Chorazin was a city that refused to repent even after he had performed "mighty works" in its people's midst. For our group of pilgrims, Chorazin was a ruin that was hard to interpret. None of its buildings appeared to be from the first century, and the architecture of the synagogue suggested that it was not original to the site. Bethsaida and Capernaum were equally difficult. Bethsaida, the hometown of Sts. Philip and Andrew, had... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Sunday, April 3, 2016
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The King of the Jews (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 3)

We started our search for the footprints of Jesus in a place we knew we would not find them. Ancient Sepphoris was a small city just across the valley from Nazareth. The two were separated by only a few miles, but they might as well have been separated by a few thousand. Sepphoris was entirely Hellenized, Nazareth entirely Jewish.  The archeological record reveals hardly any interaction between the two towns, and Holy Scripture makes hardly... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Friday, April 1, 2016
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Living Stones (Holy Land Pilgrimage, Dispatch 2)

“Did Nazareth exist in the first century?” Even as a seminary-trained priest, I have always assumed that the scriptures were accurate when they said that Nazareth was St. Mary’s hometown, but I learned today that scholars debate this point: If Nazareth existed prior to the birth of Christ, why is it not mentioned in the Old Testament? If Nazareth was the place where Jesus spent his formative years, why is it never mentioned in the writings... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Friday, April 1, 2016
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