Today we discuss Jim's upcoming trip to the Holy Land. Let us know what you want us to ask him upon his return:
Monday, September 25th, 2023
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
SEARCHING TO FIND THE GOOD LORD AND MY LEGACY!
Regular readers of my weekly columns know that I write about a cross-section of issues, from politics to good eating, insurance issues, heroes, the joys of living in the country, and even who I think killed JFK. I don’t often write about spiritual issues. But hey, give me a little leeway here. I’m eighty-three and maybe it’s time to get right with the Lord. Remember the song by Beatles’ George Harrison who wrote:
My sweet Lord
Hm, my Lord
I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you, Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord
Maybe it’s taken so long, but it’s time I take a look at my spiritually. Firm up just what I religiously believe.
Elle Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor and a Nobel Prize winning author. Our grandchildren attended the same school in New York, and we had visited about his writings before his recent death. He tells the story about Adam in the Book of Genesis, fleeing after biting into the forbidden fruit. The Lord asks him: “Ayekha, where are you?” Of course, the creator knew where Adam was hiding. What he was really asking was, just what have you done with your life Adam? What will your legacy be? What have you accomplished? Ayekha?
I am asking the same question of myself. To undertake this quest, this spiritual journey if you will, I left Louisiana a few days ago and as you read this column, I’m exploring specific sites in Jerusalem. I’m here in the Holy Land alone, and I do not consider myself a tourist. I have a specific agenda of locations to explore, and a few people to meet and share with them just why I traveled halfway around the world to come to this complicated city. Yes, Jerusalem is complicated. All three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, claim Jerusalem as their founding location.
My base is St. George College, situated just a 10-minute walk from the Damascus Gate in the heart of the Holy City. St. George is a 100-year-old Anglican pilgrimage center that welcomes pilgrims such as myself from all around the world. I was allowed to stay there after being recommended by Rev. Randy Hollerith who is currently the Dean of Washington National Cathedral in the nation’s capital. I have known Rev. Hollerith for several years during his visits to the North Carolina mountains where I stay a part of each summer.
From my base at St. George, I will travel each day to specific locations on my agenda. At first will be a site on the Jordan River where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. This is where Christ’s mission on earth, at least in my opinion, really began. Then on to the Mount of Beatitudes, a hill in Northern Israel where Christ delivered the Sermon on the Mount. I believe it was there that he no longer was observed as an obscure Rabbi, but immerged as not only a teacher, but the prophet for ages to come. Then back to Jerusalem to walk the Villa Dolorosa, following the steps of Christ in his final path to his crucifixion and his burial site.
I cannot go to Jerusalem without a mandatory stop at the Holocaust Museum. And on Sunday, I will go to the Church of St. Mark where services are held in Aramaic, the original language of Jesus.
What do I hope to find in my journey? Will the Lord speak to me? Probably not, but there surely is no better place in the world to search out and explore my faith. I will certainly meditate a good bit. And write. To write about my past and my hopes about the future. All in an effort to keep alive and answer the first question in the Bible. Ayekha. Where are you?
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownla.com. You can also listen to his regular podcast at www.datelinelouisiana.com.