Beauty Amongst Brokenness

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After checking out the skyline for the past couple days, today was the day we finally got to wind through the narrow bustling roads of the old city.

Early this morning we worshiped in a small chapel in the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, met some fellow English speaking pilgrimaging Lutherans, and then headed to the Holy Sepulchre around the corner. When reflecting on our visits to holy sites, some have mentioned how they have noticed the worst come out of people while waiting impatiently in long lines to see a certain holy site. While others noted the beauty in the range of people from all different regions of the world coming together and experiencing these places. I tend to agree with my peers and I feel that there is beauty amongst brokenness here. Continue reading

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Distressed.

I am writing to you all after two days of contemplation. Friday was a hard day for me in more ways than one and even after rest and many conversations…I am still wrestling these thoughts in my head.

Most of you don’t know my story, who I really am, or my background..so let me paint you a picture. I grew up with a father who was a Marine. He was a wonderful man and so were all of his peers. I grew up close to the base and I was a part of a diverse mismatched family who took care of each other in so many ways. I was essentially a daughter to 20+ individuals.

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Holy Sites and the Sacred

A belated post from Thursday:

Today we drove up to the Galilee and spent the day seeing holy sites–the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, Tabgah where Jesus fed the 5,000, Capernaum, Nazareth. Many of these places have churches built around them, and most are devotional sites as opposed to historical sites–in other words, we know these events may not have happened in these exact places, but we use them to come and remember what happened there as people of faith.

We have been talking on this trip about the notion of living stones. The purpose of this trip is not just to see the dead stones of the area–the places where things happened long ago–but to listen to the stories of people living here in this land that is often called holy, this place where conflict, violence, and division are a daily reality. Continue reading

Is it still there?

IMG_1940Wednesday offered me a new idea of hope.

In the afternoon, Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann toured the city with our group, explaining in detail why he thinks Secretary of State John Kerry is the area’s last hope for peace – and how that peace will look.

Seidemann gave a similar tour to three Republican U.S. senators Saturday and has direct lines to Israel’s and America’s governments. He knows the politicians, and he knows the politics. Continue reading

Jordan to Jerusalem

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Traveling from Jordan to Jerusalem is quite an experience. Crossing over the Jordan river into the Israeli controlled West Bank is not always a simple task. It’s a journey through checkpoints, customs metal detectors, profiling and questioning by the Israeli officials manning the boarder. The experience of crossing this boarder is only a symptom of the deeper problems within the Holy Land.

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Introducing: The Sweet 16

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What do you get when you mix 16 ELCA young adults from all over the United States who have flown to Israel and Palestine (with a quick stop in Jordan for a dedication of a church), asking them to learn more about Israel and Palestine in the context of their shared Christian faith, to grow in their leadership skills, connect with other young adults engaged in social justice, get involved with the Peace Not Walls Campaign of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and blog about it?

You get us! (and a ridiculously long sentence).

The sweet 16* are in the midst of a two week experience of a lifetime and will be using this blog to share their reflections along the way.**

Thanks for joining us along the journey! leave a comment, lift up a prayer, and spread the word!

*name decided by Cassie, I’m sure it’ll stick after I tell the group… maybe.

**This is the blog by the sweet 16 (seriously, call us this, it’ll help it stick! …okay, maybe not. I suppose group names should be mutually agreed upon, much like the writing of our group covenant). regardless of what you call us, it’s the blog of the 16 trip participants. in other words, the opinions expressed are the opinions of the individuals writing them and not necessarily the opinions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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