Are you looking for ways to “walk with Jesus” during this season of Lent? I invite you to check out the videos produced by Eran Frenkel in Jerusalem. His most recent video takes us through the Western Wall Tunnels. This is a place I wasn’t able to see on my pilgrimage, and I so enjoyed “being there” virtually.
Ashes & Valentines collide this year, which remind me of a book our kids loved when they were little: “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. This picture book revolves around a song, which a parent sings to their child:
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
The bottom line is this: love may be endless, but life is not. It’s a good song for the collision of ashes and valentines. What an appropriate reminder to tell the people we love that our love is endless. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always.” At the same time, we are reminded to meditate on the fact that everything –including we ourselves –will some day die. Ashes to ashes. “As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
The two events create a certain tension. What dies and what lasts forever? [Read more…] about Ashes & Valentines
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them. ~Mark 9:2
Mount Tabor, which is believed to be the site of Jesus’ transfiguration, rises from a flat plain. The road to the top is a series of hairpin curves too intense for a bus. We climb into taxis. Previous generations of pilgrims would have spent days making this trek, which we accomplish in twenty minutes, slamming from side to side across the bench seat.
Have you ever made an arduous hike up a mountain to find God? Or do you sometimes seek a shortcut?
Prayer: O Creator, forgive my rush to moments of glory.
Are you planning to visit Jerusalem, or do you wish you could?
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a vast building with a confusing layout and centuries of tumultuous history. There are chapels upon chapels, and that is meant literally, as chapels are stacked upon each other. I’ve talked to pilgrims who loved this site, and pilgrims who were overtaken by tears. I do know that the church is overwhelming with its labyrinthian quality, plus the emotions engendered by being in the place where Jesus is said to have died and was buried.
In my book about my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I describe my experiences at the Stone of Anointing, which were powerful.
Here is a wonderful, 8 minute video of the church. If you are planning to go, you will appreciate the orientation this gives you. If you have already been, this video will refresh your memory and allow you to “go there” again. If you are unable to travel, you will at least have seen the highlights of this holy place.
I have become (virtual) friends with the filmmaker, Eran Frenkel, and am impressed with his work. I hope you’ll check out his website, JerusalemExperience and consider subscribing to his channel. I will link more of his videos during Lent. Between his videos and my writings, you can become a virtual pilgrim to the Holy Land this Lent.
As always, I invite you to leave your reactions in a comment!
Need a break? I invite you to take a 5-minute pilgrimage to Jericho!
This video will take you to the Mount of Temptation, a hill high above Jericho which is the home of an ancient monastery. The site is associated with the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil, which is told in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.
This video was made by Eran Frenkel. Check out his videos about other sites in and around Jerusalem at www.JerusalemExperience.com.
On this Maundy Thursday I wanted to share an image of Jesus at table with his disciples. The carving below shows all twelve disciples — it’s a bit hard to see John, whose head is lying in Jesus’ lap. What makes this depiction of the Last Supper unique is the identity of the disciple at the center of the piece — the one receiving the bread from Jesus’ hand. Who do you think that is?
Here’s a hint: He’s holding a moneybag in his hand.
This artwork is called the “Holy Blood Altarpiece.” It’s a reliquary, meaning that it was built to hold a relic, which is a drop of Jesus’ blood. The drop of blood is in a vessel above this panel. The altarpiece was carved by Tilman Riemenschneider at the beginning of the Reformation, and is a very large piece, still in its original installation in southern Germany. I really don’t know much else about it.
But I find it quite moving that an artist would put Judas at the center of this work, below Jesus’ shed blood, inviting the viewer to identify with the disciple who betrayed Jesus. So often we shy away from comparing ourselves to this betrayer. Judas is certainly a complicated figure and most Christians push away from him. Yet Jesus washed Judas’ feet, and included him in the sacrament of the supper. Like all of us, Judas is literally beneath the mercy seat in this depiction.
I learned about this artwork last Sunday, when I attended church with my parents, at Church of the Servant, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the Adult Ed hour, there was a presentation of Lenten-related artwork by Professor Craig Hanson, from Calvin College. What a gift to learn and listen!