Somehow, I lost Tuesday. So did the nineteen Holy Communion pilgrims traveling with me in the Holy Land this week and next.
Perhaps more seasoned travelers become accustomed to the loss of a day when they make a long-haul flight, but it still confuses me. When I went to the airport in Memphis, it was 8:30 in the morning on Tuesday. When I left the airport in Tel Aviv, it was 10:30 in the morning on Wednesday. I never slept. I accomplished nothing. What happened to Tuesday?
Late at night – and I say night because it was dark outside, not because I knew what time it was then or is now – I stood at the back of our Boeing 777 and looked down the side aisle. Some of our pilgrims were asleep, others were lost in the mindlessness of in-flight entertainment. Everyone was quiet and still. Each in her own way, we were all escaping the reality of spending so long in such a confined space, but at the same time we were also escaping our larger realities.
We have working people on our trip who are taking breaks from their lives and businesses. Hester, Milton and I were still trying to set aside the adrenaline rush of a Holy Week liturgical marathon. Some parents have left behind their children, some spouses have left behind their partners.
The biblical witness suggests that we have to leave behind the ordinary if we want to have any hope of encountering the extraordinary: That's why Moses and the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness, why Elijah crossed the Jordan to give his cloak to Elisha, why Jesus went away from the crowds to places by himself. I wonder if there is a way for us to escape with God more regularly and more locally.
Somehow, I misplaced my Tuesday, and Wednesday seems to be a bit of a blur. But, as I write this Thursday morning, my fellow pilgrims and I feel as though we have arrived. We have passed through our Boeing wardrobe and to enter our own version of Narnia.
Today, we will set course for Nazareth, the place where Jesus' life began, and spend three days in near the Sea of Galilee, where he lived and taught. Memphis seems far away, but we bear all of you in our hearts and are eager to be back with you soon.
More to follow...
–The Reverend Sandy Webb