Sunday, January 8, 2012


I’m running a flickr slideshow of the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, a church built on Caiaphas’ house, where Jesus was taken after he was arrested in the Garden, and where Peter denied knowing Jesus. Thus, “in gallicantu,” which means “rooster’s crow.” [flickr is a web site that has all kinds of uploaded photos from users around the world]

I think I could go to Israel three times a year and not wear it out. I guess in some ways I want to become as familiar (and more) with Jerusalem than I am with some other big cities I know... San Francisco, Stuttgart, New Orleans...

Of course, there is so much more to Jerusalem. Somehow I feel like I live in its shadow, or maybe more properly under its blessing?

On the trip to Israel I took last year, thanks to the generous offer of Tom Smith, I was asked to pray on the bus ride into Jerusalem. Whoa... how did they choose that? How did they know I was committing Psalm 121 to memory in Hebrew?

And how did they know that Matisyahu’s “Jerusalem” was rolling through my mind?

I am sure they had no clue about all that, but it seemed stunning to me... one of the things I really wanted to see, to experience, was going up the hills into Jerusalem... to get to pray about it...

So when I got up to pray on the bus, climbing the steep hill, realizing, seeing what it means to come into the city set on 7 hills... I don’t remember what i said, babbling something about looking to the hills..

A few years back, I was in California at about the same time of two different summers. It was kind of cool, because i try to read 5 Psalms a Day, and was pretty regular about that for a few years. So regular that going to Cali, I was reading the Psalms of Ascents both times. I was looking at the Adelaida Mountains, thinking about how when I was a kid I would lift up my eyes to the hills... those hills seemed so solid... there was always some call they had on me. I wanted to go into and over them, to follow them north as they change to the Ventana Mountains and Santa Lucia mountains--the only place you’d see snow was on the peaks-- and go over them to the sea at Big Sur. Isn’t it weird? As a child I would think vaguely, one day I will go into those hills and disappear.

It has been a strange metaphor for my spiritual journey, disappearing from the world, to the place where I am known and fully known (I Corinthians 13:12)

I plan on going to Jerusalem a lot, Lord willing.

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