Good Morning!With my bags now packed and waiting by the door, I am realizing in a new way that our pilgrimage experience is now upon us. What will we learn? What will God have to say to us?
While we are intentionally taking your children "away" -- away from their devices, away from regular contact with familiar surroundings -- we are all united in the spirit of prayer, and I would ask that you hold all of us in prayer as we travel, not only for our safety, but that God would reveal himself to us (and in particular, to your teens) in new and profound ways. To that end, what follows is a brief summary of the spiritual program that Matthew and I have developed for the days ahead. Please consider reading and praying along with us in this shared way.
We will not follow the Morning Prayer lectionary as prescribed in the Prayer Book. Instead, we will be tracking the Exodus story, with a few additions from other parts of Holy Scripture, asking always the question, "What does it mean to set out on a journey with God?" Specific passages and reflection questions follow.
DAY 2 - May 27 - Arrival - Setting out from Egypt - Exodus 16:30-34, 40-42, 50-51
In the wilderness, the Israelites relied on God for everything. They could not survive without him. Even their food came only from him. But, they also could not collect more food than they needed. God sustained them with just enough. What does it mean for us to live as people to whom God gives us our daily bread -- just enough for this day -- and to trust that tomorrow he will give us our daily bread for tomorrow?
Day 6 - June 1 - Exodus 20:1-21
Day 6 - June 1 - Exodus 20:1-21
The Israelites time in the wilderness was God's opportunity to teach them how they would live, and act, and behave. God's people would behave differently because they were God's people. In the story o receiving the Ten Commandments, note how the people approached God with fear and reverence.
Today, we will also worship with Episcopalians in Frankfurt. Think about our connections to each other through the language of prayer; the same words and scriptures being used in Frankfurt and Memphis and all around the world.
Day 7 - June 2 - Exodus 34:1-12
After leading the people of Israel through the Wilderness, he dies on Mount Nebo after anointing Joshua to lead his people into the Promised Land. This is a moment of completion and also a recognition that there is more work and ministry to be done by the next generation of leaders.
Day 8 - June 3 - Matthew 17:1-9
And Jesus went up a high mountain with Peter, James, and John, and was transfigured before them. Jesus went up a mountain, to a place alone and apart, and revealed himself more fully to his disciples. Though the disciples did not want to return, they had to walk down the mountain, because there was work to be done in the valley. In what ways has God revealed himself to us more fully on this pilgrimage? What have we learned from this time on the mountain with God?
This is the day on which we are slated to visit the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The adult leaders of the pilgrimage are planning to use this day as a case study in the problem of evil. What has our learning about God in the week just past taught us about how to encounter evil and to speak over it words of peace. We have intentionally left the scriptures for this day open so that we might discern further what God would like us to hear on this day. Please hold us in your prayers especially tightly today.
Day 10 - Travel Home - Luke 24:1-12
Resurrection. God brings new life out of death, redeeming all of our experiences, and creating in us new people, totally different from what we were before. We reenter the world with the sure confidence that God will bless the experiences we have had on this journey,
As we get on the long flight back from Frankfurt to Detroit, we will present the pilgrims with Luke 24:13-35, the walk to Emmaus, wherein Jesus appears to his disciples as they walk on the road after the resurrection. How might God appear to us in new ways as we journey home?