“I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where is my help to come from?” is a line from the psalms that is familiar to many. Who hasn’t uttered it during one of life’s many uncertain moments? The line comes from Psalm 121 and is part of the Song of Ascents - 15 psalms believed to have been sung by pilgrims journeying along steep, desert roads towards Jerusalem.
Hearing this line recited while making the journey toward Jerusalem - albeit in a coach rather than a on foot - irrevocably fuses that psalm with the image of the Judean mountains and the steep desert highway and sheds a whole new light on the psalm. This is just one of the many “souvenirs” people bring back after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; a vivid image and new understanding of the scriptures that have become so familiar to us.
In October of 2022 Dean Christopher A. Pappas will be the chaplain on a Holy Land pilgrimage led by the Rev Dr. Richard LeSueur.
The pilgrimage, following an itinerary created by Rev. LeSueur - who lived in Jerusalem for many years - begins in Jerusalem and Bethlehem with visits to the Mount of Olives, and the Basilica of the Nativity.
Using Jerusalem as a base, there are excursions into the Judean wilderness to visit the Monastery of St. George, to the Jericho plains to see the place where John baptized, and Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
Visiting the Holy Land is far from visiting a museum. At the Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr you can worship with “living stones,” the present day Christians who call Jerusalem home.
Moving on to the Galilee region, you have the chance to experience the places that marked Jesus’ early ministry - experience being on the sea of Galilee, sitting in hopeful silence on the water, just as the apostles did on so many occasions.
Returning to Jerusalem, again re-living the journey of ascent to which the psalms are dedicated, walk the path Jesus took on Palm Sunday, the Way of the Cross and visit the Holy Sepulchre where we see the empty tomb. After seeing the place where Jesus wept, the garden where he prayed, waiting to be betrayed, and the place where he broke bread with the disciples who thought he was dead, Holy Week will never be quite the same.
The time in Jerusalem includes a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, a powerful reminder of the harm hatred can do when left unchecked, as well as the Dheisheh refugee camp in Beit Jala that was established in 1948 - a reminder that we still have far to go on our journey towards embracing each other.
This pilgrimage begins in Jerusalem on October 20, 2022 and ends November 2, 2022. The full itinerary and registration details are available for download below.
If you have any questions about this pilgrimage, please contact the Rev. Dr. Richard LeSueur at firstname.lastname@example.org