February 8, 2014

Pilgrimage... It's a Dangerous Business

Pilgrimage... It's a Dangerous Business

Pilgrimage = Transformation

“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Writing From the Holy Land

I am writing this from the Holy Land… sort of. I mean, yes, at this exact moment I am in Nazareth at the Golden Crown Hotel and I am typing on my MacBook Pro’s keyboard. But what follows was actually written in Amsterdam a couple of days ago during  a 7 hour layover on my way to Israel.

I would have posted it immediately, but time and lack of internet access prevented that. So I post it now for your reading pleasure… and the transformation of your soul. 😉


I’m Not in Kansas Anymore…

I am writing this from the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. And I am not “supposed” to be here.

If you have been keeping up with The Catholic Foodie, then you probably know that the first ever Food Meets Faith in the Holy Land pilgrimage departed from the United States yesterday. And it did. But something else happened too. A major winter storm hit the northeast and practically shut down the entire east coast. At least the most of the airports. As you might expect, this resulted in many flight cancellations, including ours.

But Edita and Susan of Select International Tours did not give up. They immediately got to work trying to find alternate ways to get us to Israel. After several hours going back and forth with the airlines, they were able to secure passage for us, but it meant new routes. We could not go through New York.

Originally we were to fly from our home towns to New York, and then depart (via a direct flight) New York for Tel Aviv, Israel. But the storm meant that we had to travel via alternate routes. Most of the group had to fly from Memphis to Houston, to Frankfurt, to Tel Aviv. I had to fly from New Orleans to Atlanta, to Amsterdam, and then to Tel Aviv.

And guess what. It’s alright.

Yes, yesterday, amidst all of the uncertainty and the rapidly changing flight schedule, I realized something. The pilgrimage had already started. The uncertainty and  the changed planes were all part of it. And if I missed that fact, then I would also miss God and the opportunity –in that moment – to to allow God to meet me where I am… right there in the craziness of my circumstances.

And isn’t that just like God? He meets us right where we are. He is not afraid of our messiness. He loves us and he wants to be with his children. And he draws close to us. Jesus – God-with-Us – came to us as a baby in Bethlehem in Israel. He was born in a cave and placed in a manger, so he is certainly not scared of our stink and our filth. Rather, he calls to us and begs us to have the courage to let him touch us just as we are… to allow him into our less-than-perfect hearts and to trust that he loves us no matter what.

A pilgrimage, with all of its uncertainty, highlights our dependence on God and his infinite hospitality. With God, there is always room in the inn.