Holy Land 2023 (Seyi)

Rays of sunshine captured in a view of the Judean Dessert.

Pilgrimage Day 6. There is often this saying that I hear people use about “being comfortable with the uncomfortable”. As our bus rolled into an Israeli settlement in the West Bank: I felt very uncomfortable. I also took to heart the preamble to our visit: we were meeting with a settler who lived there to learn about their perspective and have a respectful conversation. We were not there to debate. So I was fully present with our host as I sat on a (seriously) low bench with an expansive view of the beautiful Judean dessert behind us (photo shown above). I listened to him with an open heart and discerning mind. And I sat there with the resulting tension within me. The journey to seek understanding does not mean that we must agree with one another, but it does mean that we are able to see each other’s humanity. I was grateful for this opportunity to see our host’s humanity. I was also encouraged by his genuine yearning for peace. He believed that finding a resolution to this conflict between Israel and Palestine could serve as a light to the rest of the world.

We subsequently visited Mount Zion and the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu. I felt a deep sadness while down in the dungeon where Jesus spent the last night of his life in human form. Then after group prayer in the dungeon, I spent some time on my own in the upper church. I was awestruck by its colorful interior and the abundance of light that came through the dome. It lifted and soothed my spirit. The verse “All shall be well” started playing in my head from the song “Annunciation” by Kevin Siegfried. It is an Advent song that comes to me often throughout the year. And with this beauty and calm that followed the sadness and tension, I wrote the following epistolary poem while under the glorious dome.

3/10/2023 12:09 pm

Dear All Shall Be Well,

You play on repeat in my heart as I seek peace on this torn land. Sparkle gemstone raised over dungeon depths; I find stillness under arches. Transcending light, you watch over my day. Where you suffered, I ponder the night. I smell fresh eternal words in reflection. Dance the angels in circles above your altar. The sacred made colorful in domes.

Fall from restless grace these moments made series; we are draped in longing robes filled mosaic with glass. A call to prayer breaks the night; I waited for silence. Then troubles all left me to be with you, Lord. It is there I sit, in the light of your love. A New Day. You are the lute that sings hope to me. And in this verse I feel it is true: All Shall Be Well.

Faithful Listening

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