After eight years at Trinity and nineteen years of ordained ministry, the time has finally come. I can't believe it! A time of sabbatical, a time for sabbath rest and renewal. As we enter this time, I want to share with you where I will be starting on my pilgrimage. It is most clearly articulated in a book recently given to me by one of our members -- Jesus: A Pilgrimage, by James Martin, JS.
The book begins with a fundamental and core question. In fact, it's THE question. "Jesus is walking with his friends to Caesarea Philippi, a town roughly twenty-five miles north of the Sea of Galilee. The story comes midway through the Gospel of Mark. Out of the blue Jesus asks, 'Who do people say that I am?'" That is the question! Who is Jesus? Who is Jesus for me? Who is Jesus for Trinity Church? Who is Jesus for the world? How we understand and answer that question shapes and impacts everything. Everything we do. Everything we say. Everything we think. Everything we are. Everything we hope to be.
You may now be thinking, "Paul, you should have answered that question a long time ago. You should know exactly who Jesus is! If not, what are you doing being a priest?" But, the reality is that our faith is always a work in progress. I am continually "working on" my understanding of Jesus and the significance that that has on my life.
The next question that Br. Martin puts forth is this, "Why have I committed my life to Jesus?" Ah, now we are really getting to the heart of the matter! I can't imagine not being a priest. But, why? Why have I committed my life to Jesus? What does it mean to do so? What is a life committed to Jesus "supposed" to look like? Have I really committed my life to Jesus or am I just "acting" like I've committed my life to Jesus?
I am taking Br. Martin's book with me as a companion on the way, as I journey through the Holy Land. I invite you to join me on the pilgrimage. You need not travel to Jerusalem to do so. You can join me through the wonderful words and reflections of Br. Martin. Let us together be pilgrims on a sacred and holy journey, visiting the places of Jesus' life and revisiting the places of our own lives. Let us get to know Jesus better, and in doing so I know we will discover something new and wonderful about ourselves.
So, sisters and brothers, fellow pilgrims, let us a being our journey.
Peace and Blessing on the way!
PS - I will be keeping in touch with you via Facebook postings, Twitter, and E-pistle reflections.
I do ask that you hold my family and me in your hearts and prayers, for we will indeed be holding you!