Fog Over the Promised Land

stock-photo-17181584-mountain-manLast Thursday afternoon, just before heading home to New York, I stood on Mount Nebo in Jordan and looked west to the Promised Land.  Mount Nebo is where Moses stood at the end of his life, having led the Israelites in the desert for forty years, and died.

Today there is a modern Catholic church built over the remains of an ancient Byzantine church on Mount Nebo.  The mosaics from the Byzantine church have been beautifully restored and are displayed as part of the modern church’s design.

Continue reading “Fog Over the Promised Land”

“Do not be afraid…”

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Today I find myself in the Holy Land—on a pilgrimage.  This is not my first pilgrimage, nor, do I suspect, will it be my last.  Moreover, this is my 5th or 6th time visiting many of the sites on this trip.  Yet, each visit is a little different.  Each visit challenges and rewards me in unexpected ways.

This time I have the luxury and challenge of not being the group leader.  I can enter into the visit as a true pilgrim.  

What does it mean to be a pilgrim? Continue reading ““Do not be afraid…””

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)

In last week’s installment of “The Water and Sanitation Mystery” my colleague
IMG_0594discovered that, to his alarm, the project had not gone as planned. Household latrines had not been built and the one public latrine that had been built was not in use.  Most concerning, however, the community was not capturing and protecting its clean water supply.

Trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, my colleague convened a meeting of the community Water and Sanitation Committee, whose responsibility it is to manage the project.  

To them the explanation is obvious. Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)”

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part One)

IMG_0607A trip report from one of my colleagues at Episcopal Relief & Development recently crossed my desk.  I find these reports extremely helpful in understanding the challenges my co-workers are facing as they visit our programs around the world.  Each of these reports is fascinating.  

However, this one was exceptional: it contained a mystery.   Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part One)”

The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)

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Author’s note: The second part of this story reminds us that, even after the most terrible of disasters, we can find hope and healing. I hold onto this as we count the losses of the most recent series of tragedies we are enduring.

The morning after we received the Kumari’s blessing, my daughter and I set out to visit the epicenter of the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.  The memory of the Kumari’s gaze calmed me as we sat in traffic making our way out of Kathmandu. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)”

The Kumari’s Blessing (Part One)

IMG_0730Just short of a year after the April 25, 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal, my daughter and I landed in Kathmandu.  We were there to visit the recovery programs that Episcopal Relief & Development was supporting.  Before leaving Kathmandu to tour the epicenter of the destruction and our work, my daughter and I took an afternoon to visit the Living Goddess—the Kumari—and to receive her blessing. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part One)”

The Old City of Jerusalem

Via_dolorosa_JerusalemThe Old City in Jerusalem is chockablock with thin places.

Countless worship and pilgrimage sites for the three Abrahamic faiths are packed within one square kilometer.  

I find it all overwhelming.  For the most part I have not experienced the transcendent power of being in a thin place when I am in the Old City.   

There is one exception to this.

Continue reading “The Old City of Jerusalem”