In a few more weeks, I begin the first part of the sabbatical leave that you all have so graciously made part of my call here as pastor. I am very excited, and not a little humbled by the prospect!
I will be here for the next two Sundays, and then start my sabbatical on May 5 with a week of reading and preparation. On May 12, I leave for Israel and Palestine, and will return from that trip on May 31. I then have a few more days of sabbatical rest! I plan on attending the Church Board meeting on June 4, and on June 8 will be here for our Pentecost blended worship, and our congregational meeting. A more specific trip schedule is can be found here.
As I said in a sermon a few weeks ago, part of my trip will be about pilgrimage to places I’ve read about all my life. I will be doing a walking tour that will be, at least in part, about getting a deeper sense of the land, the view, the feel of Galilee.
But my visit will not be with just rocks and trees—I will be joining a group from our region to visit with the “living stones” of indigenous Christian believers in both Israel and Palestine. Their experience is not often heard in the western media—indeed, it is often neglected even by the western church. But I sense that it is a crucial perspective for us as we consider the Holy Land as more than just turf with history. Warning: the perspective of Palestinian Christians is not always an easy one for westerners!
The plan is also for me to communicate back to the church through a blog that should be accessible via the church website. The details are not all finalized on this, so keep an eye out and an ear open for more specifics on accessing my posts.
I look forward to going, to experiencing, and to returning to share something of that experience. Before, during, and after, I earnestly covet your prayers!