Tuesday, February 15, 2011

From Phoenix to Jerusalem

I am on my way from the Sonoran desert to the Judean one.  Last May when I graduated from Divinity School, I was awarded a scholarship for the “Palestine of Jesus” course at St. George’s College in Jerusalem.   St. George’s is attached to the Anglican Cathedral of the same name:  the Cathedral of the Diocese of Jerusalem, a part of the Anglican Province of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
The pilgrim in me is eager to walk those paths walked by Jesus, the prophets, matriarchs and patriarchs; to stand at Jacob’s well where Jacob met Rachel and Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women and wade into the Jordan river that the Israelites crossed over into the promised land and in which John the Baptist baptized Jesus.   How amazing it will be to be in these places and others which are holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
                The border dweller in me is also drawn to a region even more wrought by conflicts over borders and between people of different cultures than my own.   Over these two weeks I want to listen to the stories of Palestinians and Israelis, Christians, Jews and Muslims, to better understand the situation there.  I hope it may give me a new perspective on our struggles here in Arizona.
A few weeks ago, I heard an NPR story on immigration reform.  Janet Napolitano was quoted as saying that “the border is as safe as it’s ever been.”  The response from those who oppose immigration reform is of course to say that the border is not secure and so immigration reform is not possible at this time.  It is human instinct to put our security first, but spiritually it is dangerous and also practically a dead-end -road.  Can I really be secure if my neighbor is not secure?  Do double walls and trenches on our borders make us secure if our neighbors live in fear that they will be separated from their families?
I know these are questions facing Israelis and Palestinians as well.  I have been following the Israeli response to what is happening in Egypt.  The Israeli’s are understandably nervous that that one of the only neighbors that recognizes them as a state is going through a dramatic change in government.   The question yet to be answered is will this push them towards peace.
I don’t know if I will find the answers to these questions but hope to reflect on them more deeply.  I will try to post updates every couple of days!


  1. I am looking forward to following your "travel log". What a wonderful opportunity to be in touch up close and personal with the lands and history of our Christian heritage. Be Safe. Tom Weller

  2. I'll be eager to follow your comments as your trip progresses, and I'll be especially interested in knowing what answers you find to the border questions. I know God is with you on your travels...just help Him keep you safe, Deb!

  3. What a wonderful opportunity. Have a great time!