We now have two pilgrimages under our belt. 41 of us have traveled to the Holy Land and have walked where Jesus walked. We have seen the world from the perspective from which he saw the world. We have stood in places he stood. We have touched the stone that held his cross, and put our hands on the tomb in which he rose from death. The pilgrimage to the Holy Land is the pilgrimage of Christians. Every two years we will take another group of 20 or 25 to Israel, the next trip being March 19-31, 2015.
It is my hope for Epiphany that we become a pilgrim people. That we take pilgrimages to Iona and Taizé. That we walk from Norte Dame to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. That we explore our Anglican roots, and wander through the churches of Rome. I can imagine a group of us romping across Ephesus and peering into the caves of the Cappadocia. Christians are people on the move.
Even as I write this note, we have a group organizing a trip to Cambridge University August of 2014 to study Anglicanism. The organizing principle of pilgrimage at Epiphany is “first the Holy Land.” If you take no other pilgrimage take this pilgrimage. And if you plan to take other pilgrimages, take this one first. The priority for people signing up for pilgrimage to places other than the Holy Lands is Holy Land pilgrims have first right of refusal. The Holy Land pilgrimage should be thought of as the 101 class on pilgrimage.
That said, not everyone’s calendars corresponds with Epiphany’s Holy Land pilgrimage dates. So if March 2015 doesn’t work for you, consider this pilgrimage, Come and See…Christian Presence in the Holy Land, November 25-December 3, 2013, sponsored by the Episcopal Bishop’s Committee on Israel/Palestine.
The guide they are using is Iyad Qumri, the same guide we used on the 2011 and 2013 trips. I encourage you to be a pilgrim person making the Holy Land your primary stop along the journey.