Journey to the Holy Land – Day 9

November 1, 2010

First, let me make you aware that two of my daily postings are out of sync on the blog.  Unfortunately, I did not realize that I hadn’t published Day 7, October 30 before I published Day 8, October 31.  You will need to backtrack one day in order to read both days. 

Today is All Saints Day and with the dedicated spirit I have witnessed among the staff in this office, I’m sure there are some “saints in the making.”  There are some days that they move so quickly I hardly see them.  Today the engineer was doing last minute preparations on the new elevator which will receive its inspection tomorrow.  It should be a bit easier to work now with the construction noise gone.  And the next time someone like me shows up with two suitcases weighing almost 50 pounds each (I just made it under the airplane weight limits), no one will have to haul them up four flights of stairs!  No, it wasn’t my clothes that weighed that much—much of what I brought is remaining here with the program.  The luggage will be much lighter on the return trip.

And speaking of noise…I can hardly believe that I have been here for a full week and never heard the sounds that surrounded me at 5:30 this morning.  First one church bell began to toll and then many others joined in; sometimes it seemed that each was trying to outdo the other in volume!  The cacophony continued for a full minute and even as the sounds began to diminish, it seemed that “Big Ben” was determined to sound the last note.  I find the Muslim call to prayer over a loudspeaker at 4:30 a.m. much more pleasant to the ear.

Final preparations for the HCEF 12th International Conference on November 5 and 6 are underway.  A DVD is being produced by this office which will be shown during the conference so final editing and review are underway.  This year’s conference is titled “Living the Faith: Promoting Peace and Human Security in the Holy Land.”  If any of you live near Bethesda, Maryland and are available this weekend, I would highly encourage you to attend.  It is ecumenically based with Christians, Jews and Muslims are participating.  If you would like more information on the event, go to www.hcef.org.  You can also register on this website.  Unfortunately for me, this is the second year in a row that I have been here in the Holy Land when the conference is held.  I guarantee if I am in the States next year, I will be the first to register.

I have been reflecting on another program that is offered through the HCEF.  It is called “Children’s Peace Project” with a focus on building a ‘Living Bridge of Peace’ between Christian communities in the West and Christian communities in the Holy Land.  It offers American churches and schools the means to work for greater understanding and solidarity with the Christians of the Holy Land by inviting a small group of Arab Christian students and a teacher to reside in their community for six to eight weeks.  The program has two primary benefits. First, it helps youth in the U.S. form a spiritual, cultural and educational bond wit the living Church in the land where Jesus was born, died and was resurrected.  Secondly, it gives students from the Holy Land and the U.S. the opportunity to become partners and ambassadors in this Christ-centered mission, as they build a living bridge of peace between the Holy Land and the U.S.

If this program catches your attention, you can get more information on the HCEF website listed above or send an e-mail to cpp@hcef.org.  My mind is already working on the possibility of such an exchange program in my community, and I hope to pursue it when I return home.

Until tomorrow, may you rest well and awaken to the music of the birds singing melodiously outside your window.

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Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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