Holy Land 2023 (Seyi)

Yesterday was the fifth day of the Pilgrimage. It started early with a 7:30 am departure from Bethlehem. I still managed to do my daily morning meditation (nine minutes on “A Call to Presence”), squeezed in breakfast in seven minutes, and made it to the bus at 7:24 am. My feelings around prayer this day, though, could not be bounded by time limits and anxious eyes on watches.

We returned to Jerusalem and visited the Temple Mount. I am grateful for the time that we had at the Western Wall, the holy site for the Jewish faith. I prayed at the Wall and experienced some of my deepest spiritual connection; it was on par with my experience at the Jordan River. We then visited the outside of the Dome of the Rock (photo above) and Al Aqsa Mosque, St. Anne’s Church, and we completed the morning by walking the Stations of the Cross together with many other pilgrimage groups. I kept my hair covered with my prayer shawl for much of the morning, both out of respect for the other faiths and with a deepened connection to my own Christian faith.

I am the product of a multifaith union. My mother is a Christian and my father was a Muslim. My late father was on my mind for much of my time outside the Dome of the Rock; I am hopeful that he is proud that I made it to this holy site. The multifaith experience of praying and sharing faithful space at the Temple Mount was particularly special for me on this day of pilgrimage.

And now that I am up in the wee hours of night because I took a nap after dinner, here are a couple poems inspired by a faithful morning.

Two Minutes

(A poem written in two minutes-ish)
Two minutes to have
Two minutes to be 
Two minutes to love
Two minutes to dream.
Two minutes to wander
Two minutes to lose
Two minutes to call
Two minutes to scorn.
Two minutes to walk
Two minutes to fall
Two minutes to ache
Two minutes to say no
Two minutes to listen
Two minutes to let go.
Two minutes that I feel
Two minutes that end
"You have two minutes and your time starts now."
And I know 
That my prayers to God are worth more
Than the binds of this earth could offer.

Wall West

3/10/2023 2:53 am

I wrote down the desires of my heart. God already knows. In courtyard of holy, I cover my head: the daughter of a Christian mother and a Muslim father. I pray at the Western Wall with my Jewish cousins, my sister in Christ by my side. God hears all our prayers together, even as layers in voice blend crystals for ears. Sunshine pulls me forward, winds lift my back, and the Rock holds gravity for us all.

A Wall protected by stone, I feel faith of ages. Touch the Spirit longing with finger tips. God already knows. We cannot see the reason, we cannot see the pull. You may stand in doubt watching our tired feet. My faith calls me to stand on, when my soul feels no more. Numb to time, numb to limits, numb to eyes that see me bleed. I found my place for prayer in stone hands. And so, I stand with my sisters in faith at Wall West.

Lift up, we raise our prayers to God, sliver by sliver. He already knows. Backward glides, I face the Wall in hope, my hair still covered, heart still longing, my spirit exposed. And I already know. For God has never turned His back on me.

2 thoughts on “Holy Land 2023 (Seyi)

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