Fueled by sun and warmth some of us ventured into Old Jaffe to walk ourselves out of jet lag. There we entered St. Peters and slipped into a pew to listen to a mass said in German. When we saw the painting of Peter visited by the angel, we were grounded in the reality of not just the story as told in Acts 10, but that we were in the place where it occurred. Here it happened.
Later that evening, our first devotion time together was somewhat akin to Bible Jeopardy, remembering Abram’s blessing by God, and the legacy we trace to him. Question, group think, and answer—it was fun, humbling, and slightly competitive. Imagine such categories as “Ancient Mothers”, “Trickster Relatives”, “Birthright”, and “Arguing With God”. We realized how dependent we are on each other to remember the stories of our faith (and how much more the 16-year-olds could recall), laying the foundation to walk through a land claimed as holy, by generations, and people as numerous as the stars.
We are ready to have our hearts and minds opened by this land and its people, our journey together, scripture, and the Holy Spirit stirring among us.
Here is the opening statement from our devotions:
The God we yearn to know more deeply is the God of Jesus, the God of the prophets, the God of the two testaments—a gracious, loving Creator, a God of shalom and justice, a God who intervenes in our history, who shatters the weapons of war and foils the power of nations and empires.
—Will O’Brien, Be Still and Know