A diverse group of lay and ordained ministers, including three school-age children (also ordained, though so far only by God Most High), we 20 St. John's pilgrims gathered this morning at LAX's Bradley International Terminal. This photo was taken just before the seasoned pilgrimage leader was gently reminded by security that photography isn't encouraged at the El Al check-in desk.
By the grace of God we'll take off at 1:15 this afternoon and arrive in Tel Aviv Wednesday afternoon, when we'll begin our drive up to Jerusalem by reciting one of humanity's most mysterious texts, Psalm 87 -- God's voice singing out of a primitive and warlike time into another (ours) that our differences with one another are imaginary, that we all come from and are bound for the place our creator loves most of all, a timeless city we are called to share:
On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded;
the LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of our God.
I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me;
behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia:
in Zion were they born.
Of Zion it shall be said, "Everyone was born in her,
and the Most High himself shall sustain her."
The LORD will record as he enrolls the peoples,
"These also were born there."
The singers and the dancers will say,
"All my fresh springs are in you."