From Jennifer Charrington
New and FamiliarAs a returning pilgrim (lucky me!), I have been asked several times why I chose to return to the Holy Land. There is so much to learn here, to absorb, to think about, to experience- that a return trip feels just right for so many reasons. What I am finding this trip is a wonderful mix of new and familiar. Today was a packed day, beginning with a trip to the Jordan River to renew our baptismal vows. It was deeply moving to be gathered together with this convivial group to renew these vows. From there, we headed to Capernaum (one of my favorite places on this trip) to see Peter’s House and “the charcoal church” (formally known as the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter), where the resurrected Jesus appeared to his apostles and cooked them breakfast. Each place I had visited previously, but still learned anew, and pondered these places and bible readings in my heart. It’s a gift to be back walking the steps of Jesus four years later. Yesterday, at Christ Church, I was asked by priest Father Nael to do a reading during worship. I was both thrilled and honored to be asked to represent our parish, and felt the love from my fellow pilgrims as I rose from my seat to read. After the service, Father Nael told me he asked me to read, because he recognized me from the 2019 pilgrimage! I was astounded that he remembered me and this made the moment of celebrating the Eucharist with our Arab Christian brothers and sisters, all the more special. What a gift to be back in this sacred and holy place.