Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tourist or Pilgrim?

I rise in the darkness of an early morn to begin my journey to the Holy Land. I sit in the airport with my 'Spiritual Guide to Israel' and read...
'Tourists go to Jerusalem the way they go to Disneyworld: not to pray at its sacred Western Wall, but to take pictures of other people praying there. Pilgrims come because being in this place is part of who they are, a necessary segment in the story of their lives.'
I look out of the window as the plane carries me high above the clouds, to where the sun is waiting, and I pray that I might go to Israel not as a tourist, but as a pilgrim; that I might pray more than I pose; that I might go not to capture the HolyLand in snapshots but to let it capture me. I fly high in the beautiful blue. On my way to Tel Aviv.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Is The Mark

I look forward to Sundays. I love teaching the kids in my Sunday school class. I love spending time with my church family. I love being part of a flock, gathered together in our little pasture, sharing, smiling, hugging, caring, listening. We join together as one, and that is just how it should be. But today is Monday. I will not gather with my flock for several days. And as I wander from the fold, as I walk in pastures new, would anyone know that I belong to that flock?
The sheep that live in the Lake District in the north of England have no choice in the matter. They are already marked. On their back they carry a stamp of ownership, a distinguishing color that makes them easy to identify. No matter where they roam, their mark denotes the shepherd to whom they belong.
If you are a Christian, you are marked. But it is always our choice to let it show.  And so this is my challenge this matter where I roam, no matter who I am with, I need to make sure that I am the same loving sheep on Monday that I was on Sunday. Because love is the mark that denotes the shepherd to whom I belong.
 If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples. John 13:35