I’ve never been to the Holy Land to see the “sights” of our faith. I’ve not been to many places really. I went to Washington, D.C. in high school. Our family has been to Yellowstone, Santa Fe, Florida and a few places in Montana skiing. I grew up in the land of Lincoln, which aside from a few things in Springfield, IL is just another name for a place where a lot of corn grows very well. Because, of youth mission trips I’ve seen Appalachia and a few other parts of the south. Once, on mission trip we were on the border with Canada and we went to the park where you could stand with one foot in Canada and one foot in the US. So I guess you could say I’ve been halfway in another country.
When people ask me where I would like to go I usually say things like: Cooperstown, New York to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gettysburg, PA because I’ve read and reflected so much about the Civil War, someplace in Germany during Oktoberfest because my family roots are there and if pushed I’d also say the Holy Land because I’ve heard so many others talk about it.
I’ve often lamented that I’ve not seen much of the world. As I’ve listen to my wife and others of you who have seen more of the world than I there is something to “having been there.” What I’ve heard from those of you who have traveled is that it opens you to the experience of a wider, broader world. Being there it seems helps you to really “be here,” better. This is why I value youth mission trips that take our youth beyond known borders. It’s also why I’m so impressed with Mt. Sinai coming to our sanctuary.
Obviously by bringing Mt. Sinai to Eden Prairie we are tying to make the story of the Exodus a bit more real. I also hope that by having something like the experience of being there you can also be here a little better. Worship itself is often seen as an experience that is different than our normal everyday life. It takes place often in a sanctuary and asks us to do things we understand are important but have that feel of being a bit different. We hear words like: grace, forgiveness, redemption that are so often missing in the hustle and bustle and drama of our every day life. And maybe just maybe we go back to that life and having “been there” in worship we are better able to “be here” in life.
Being here in life is being more fully attentive, more fully engaged with those who we live with, work with, run into most every day or even once in a lifetime. Perhaps one thing that can mean is that faith calls us not so much to express what is was like “having been there,” wherever that was, worship, or other spiritually enlightening experience, but how it is we can be here better. How we can be more attentive to those who need to experience the words we have heard in worship like grace, forgiveness, love and hope? How can we be more fully engaged in this world; that we do not have to travel to run into the people that Jesus ran into? Maybe one thing faith is coming to mean is not how we are a church, but how we are being church? Is that a place we want to go? Is that something we want to be?
Keep the faith,