My Two Cents
January 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

The year was 1999. While the rest of the world was a buzz wondering if planet earth was going to survive Y2K, yours truly was preparing for an interview that would decide whether or not I would receive a full scholarship to take a trip to Israel and Palestine. The scholarship was overseen by an order of Masons with which we would not normally be familiar. But it just so happened that the chair of the scholarship committee was one of my Dad’s long-standing tennis buddies when he wasn’t doing Masonic stuff. I gave it a go, and it worked!

Fast forward one year. As the year 2000 rolled into 2001, we were finalizing plans for the trip which was to take place in March. On the second Sunday of January the Masons came to worship in full dress uniform to make the presentation. But by the time the third Sunday of January rolled around Dad had been admitted to the hospital suffering from ongoing heart problems. Things quickly went from bad to worse and by the first week of February- while all of Baltimore was celebrating a Ravens Super Bowl victory- dad had slipped from our view into the arms of Jesus.

In the wake of all the things that need to be done when the caregiver parent diesmwe decided to let the next person on the list take the scholarship. Instead of making the trip, I immersed myself in tending to Dad’s affairs and getting mom resettled. I never regretted this decision. It was very therapeutic to be about this important business. But since then, a trip to Israel and Palestine has remained a compelling possibility.

So, last summer at our General Assembly when Jayna and I met our Disciples missionary to Palestine, and learned of a trip he and his wife were organizing to the area, we took an interest. To make a long story short we will be boarding a plane in Newark, NJ, bound for Tel Aviv, on Friday, January 24th. We will be travelling with a group of 18 (mostly) Disciples clergy and lay folk. We will be seeing some of sacred sites from the cradle of our Abrahamic faith tradition. We will be learning about some of the peacemaking efforts between Israelis and Palestinians in and around some of those same sites. And we will return on Tuesday, February 4th, two days after the Ravens win the Super Bowl again!

Jayna and I will make a deal with you. If you promise to pray for us while we are gone, we promise not to overwhelm you with slideshows and stories of the Holy Land when we return! Having said that, we also promise to do all we can to learn about what might make for peace in this very special, very troubled part of God’s creation, and to share whatever hope arises from this experience.