I am now resident in the departure lounge of Heathrow Airport. I have a while to wait for things to get going, so I decided to ponder what lays ahead.
My first thought, as I venture forth to the very seat of my faith, is what the place will be like. I have never been to Jerusalem and have only seen the odd photographs. I am surprised to observe that my own idea of how
Jerusalem must be is formed from those lovely images in kids' bibles and those awful schmaltzy pictures you get in poor translations of bibles! Add to that a bit of 'The Life of Brian', and you are largely where I am in my mental picture show!
Let me share! I am thinking perhaps that Jerusalem is made up almost solely of bleached white boxes for houses with door-less entries. Everyone must wear long frocks and have tea-towels on their heads. No cars, just donkeys. No tarmac just sand. I think in my mind I am even seeing the odd Roman centurion!
I know that the place will be nothing like that. I am sitting here with the kind words of so many people still ringing in my ears - that Jerusalem will be nothing like imagine, that it will be a jolt, a shock. I guess I will see. Another thing that I am affected by is the kindly advice that the place in my Bible is a place where I might be in danger, a place where my wife fears for my well-being.
So, a land of 'milk and honey blest'? I will discover soon enough. If plans work out, I can share my impressions with you - technology allowing. My head tells me not be absurd, that Jerusalem is the scarred parchment of generations of fights and struggles, a modern capital city in a divided land - a perverse place where faith is formed and mocked in tandem. My heart wants that to be wrong - that it is the place of my spiritual dreams, the golden city of my bible's stories.