A Wayward Christian’s Pilgrimage? (April 22, 2009)

Jen and I were raised in the Lutheran faith. From Kindergarten up to graduation from 8th grade, we dutifully attended day school and Sunday school, went through first communions and confirmations. Heck, I even taught a Sunday school class myself once I got into high school. We sang in choirs, the whole nine yards. To this day, I enjoy reading the Bible, particularly the Old Testament (Job and Ruth are favorites) as a good book full of great stories. I remain interested in Christian teachings and their evolution, but since about the age of 14, that interest has become that of an outside observer. Frankly, I don’t think anyone the age of 13 knows their own mind well enough to commit to a Church membership, but that is not what I am here to discuss.
With all that in mind, I was particularly looking forward to today’s Israeli itinerary, artfully laid out by Bobby weeks in advance of my trip. Though I have long since converted to Hinduism prior to my marriage to Eddie, today was the day I was to see the things I had, to this point, only heard about, read about, and watched the History Channel documentaries regarding. Bobby, Moish and I checked out of our hostel in Qatrin, way in the Northern part of Israel, this morning and made our way to to the following sites: the Church where the Gospel of Mark was first decreed, the Rock where Jesus allegedly fed 5,000 on nothing more than a loaf of bread and two fish, and the relics of St. Peter’s House.

I went into this, I am ashamed to say, with my usual clowning. I was determined to limit my interest to that of a historical perspective, but as I watched the Pilgrims from other nations weep, sing and kiss the various landmarks, I suddenly felt I owed an apology of some sort for my cynicism and doubt. Mind you, I am still not sure where I ultimately stand on the Big Guy himself, if he exists, and if so, what is his place in my life? But something profound clearly happened to me today. In the Church of Mark, feet that felt not like my own, carried me over to a bench where I knelt down to pray. I confess, I have not done so in years by my own choice, and I did so rather furtively, fearing that my companions would hold me up for mockery. But Moish, sly Israeli dog that he is, captured me on film, very quietly. As I watched the playback of myself back at their home in Tel Aviv that night, I felt that I should expose this moment to all of you.

I drew two possible conclusions: even the Enlightened have their moments of weakness, or perhaps, after all, I am part of something, so deep inside me, that even I don’t realize it.

Our little caravan goes onto to Jerusalem tomorrow. Even I am interested to see where my emotions might take me.

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