“…what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands…” 1 John 1
We are pilgrims, and I have a certificate to prove it! 15
of us from both the synagogue and the church spent 8 days in
the Holy Land. We stood on the Mt of Olives, we prayed in the
Garden of Gethsemane and the Western Wall. We went down
to the depths of the Holy Sepulcher and the Holocaust Museum.
We sat together in the synagogue at Capernaum and
heard the echo of Jesus unrolling the scroll and reading, “ The
spirit of the Lord is upon me….” All this we heard, and saw
and touched. It was a profoundly spiritual experience for me.
To walk in the places that the person of Jesus walked in is
Yet, the trip to Israel was not necessary in order for me
to become a pilgrim. There are not thousands of miles between
us and the Holy Land; we are all pilgrims because true
pilgrimage is an interior journey. We are still in Lent, walking
through that interior landscape, traveling from the heights of
the Mount of Olives to the darkness of the Holy Sepulcher. It’s
a difficult pilgrimage because we don’t always like what we
find there. The darkness of our sinfulness limits our vision,
but we also discover oases of God’s mercy and the hope of
God’s lovingkindness there. They refresh us and give us the
courage to continue to Golgotha and at last to arrive at the
empty tomb. These interior places are our Holy Land where we
hear and see and touch the Christ; it’s where He lives most
Thank God for my companions of the trip to Israel, whose weariness
I felt, and whose joy I shared. Thank God for you, my
Lenten companions, I cannot make this journey alone. Soon
we will gather in the Upper Room and be amazed at his presence
Sunday School started back up in September. It will be held during the service on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month.
Family nights will also be starting back up for the school year. The first one of new school year will be help on Tuesday, September 20th from 5:30pm – 7pm. They are pot luck with pizza provided by Rev. Ray.
Reverend Ray Bonin and Rabbi Levy of Etz Hayim Synagogue have been holding open forum discussions twice a month at Coffeeberries at the Apple Tree Mall in Londonderry. The discussions have been on a wide variety of topics.
An Open Forum “Ask a Muslim Anything”, with Robert Azzi, will be held Thursday May 19th at 7:30pm at the Church of the Transfiguration.
All are Welcome.
Robert Azzi is a photojournalist, columnist and education consultant who lives in Exeter NH. An Arab American Muslim, he writes on issues of Identity, Conflict, and Islam, particularly as they apply in the Middle East and the Global South. Born in New Hampshire, he’s lived in Beirut, Cairo, Athens, Jeddah and New York. Although he returned to the Granite State in the late 1980s, he continues to travel and communicate with Middle East clients and friends on a regular basis.
Azzi has been a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School, and an advisor to Tufts University’s Fletcher School committee on Islam and South-West Asia. As a photojournalist his work appeared frequently in such publications as Time, Newsweek and National Geographic, Fortune, Epoca, Paris Match, and other domestic and international publications.
At Phillips Exeter Academy he has served as advisor to the Middle East Society and to the Muslim Student Association. During the 1990s war in the former Yugoslavia, Azzi initiated a project that brought 85 students from Bosnia-Herzegovina to live with American families, empowering them to continue their education until it was safe to return home.
Today Azzi consults on education and political issues as they relate to Islam and the Middle East. He also advises Middle Eastern families and students on educational opportunities in America. Azzi is frequently invited to speak to schools and civic and religious groups, invitations he welcomes in order to encourage tolerance, understanding and interfaith dialogue.
To proclaim the transfiguring love of God through worship & service, welcome & caring, word & deed