Beginning the journey of unpacking the last 2 weeks of my life in this space feels like an invitation. And here is my RSVP to the party, to sharing what I tasted, saw, and heard. All of the wonder and beauty of the land, the dusty roads, mountain top climbs and valley reflection. I would say it changed me, that land, but I think what God did was continue to shape more of who He was already making me to be.
That was my prayer, that I would be moved and stirred and pursued by the text in a way that was transferable to daily life and not a kaleidoscope view into an untouchable world. The love story poured out from the Torah to Revelation blew my mind and rocked my world on a personal, academic, community, marital and liberation level. So here I begin:
The first Hebrew word that we learned was "halak" which means to walk. Every step of the journey was about walking with our feet, walking the text, and walking together as a community of 12 for two weeks. To walk well means to live well and for the entirety of our trip, our approach was that of a disciple, to follow the walk of their rabbi with every move. As we immersed ourselves in the Jewish culture of the many generations who have gone before us, I had a deep sense of respect and reverence grow within me towards the way God uses so many every day pictures in His word of the land and physical things (desert, land, soil, sheep, bread, water) to teach us.
The path we walked allowed the story to unfold and we began in the land called the Shephelah, which means foothills or lowlands. It was here that the great king Solomon had his reign, David choose 5 simple stones to slay a giant and Samson's allowed his strength to betray him. In the Shephelah you are in the gateway to the cities and all influence, yet you are in a vulnerable place. Much like our life as believers, there is a tension that exists in difficult places that we cannot survive without the strength of a community reminding us what we stand for.
the sunset on our first night
Also found in the Shephelah is sireem, which is a crackly & thorny bush that burns quickly & when you encounter it, serves as a reminder that you may be halaking on part of the path that we are not intended to walk. Brad invited us to walk through this path and I choose to do so twice to really remember what that felt like on my bare legs and ankles. For the record, I won't forget it as for the next 5 days my ankles were scratchy and cut which truly is similar to how raw it feels when we head down the wrong path. Sireem is also used in the scriptures to convey judgement & the laughter of fools that like thorny bushes, burns up in a moment and is without meaning.
fields of wheat
and that's day 1 and 2.