Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Yesterday we were pilgrims and not just tourists. We climbed mount Sinai! Some impressions of our time there: I will never again be so judgemental of the children of Israel complaining in the wilderness; I have a new respect for moses climbing that mountain several times; I am amazed that people actually live in this Sinai wilderness of rock and sand and gravel that looks so barren and forsaken; I feel a part of centuries of pilgrimage tradition especially after reading portions of Egeria's writings from the 4th century.
Several of us took the stairway of repentance up the mountain. stairway is a very loose term for what we climbed; strategically placed rocks feels more accurate! We were thankful for our guide, Hossein. He was kind and thoughtful, slowing down for our out of shape conditions. On the return trip, by way of the camel path, it grew dark before we reached the monastery. Traci and I, behind the first group, were very thankful to see Hossein sitting on a rock in the darkness waiting to lead us the rest of the way. as we followed him on the dark, rock strewn path I was reminded of the verse in John that was very special to me when my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. "Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." Hossein didn't have a light but he was our guide, he knows the path and as we followed him single file we could walk where he walked. He didn't walk straight over all the rocks as we had been doing. He walked in the dirt around the rocks because he knew the path and the easiest way to walk.
I was also reminded of the challenge we received a couple of days ago about following Christ. Which Christ are we following, the Christ of christian tradition or the Christ of the Gospels? They aren't necessarily one and the same.
Who is our guide on the path of life? Are we following our guide or are we choosing our own path straight over all the rocks in the way? I want to closely follow the Christ of the Gospels, the light of the world.