THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM
It must be something like 20 years since I first hoped to visit the Holy Land; Peter and I booked on three different occasions and each time the trips were cancelled – two through conflict there and the third because of my mobility at the time. But the longing to visit stayed with me.
In 2010 a course was being held at Ammerdown, near Radstock. The title somehow drew me – ‘The changing faces of Jesus – exploring the Jewishness of Jesus’. The leader of the course was a Roman Catholic Sister of Sion, Professor Maureena Fritz who was visiting the UK from Jerusalem to lecture for one week at Ammerdown. This whole combination drew me, and without realising it, I was off again on the road to Jerusalem. The course led me into a new style of study. The next year Maureena was back again for ‘’Life is the Living Scripture’ and then in 2012 for ‘You are God’s word incarnate’. So for three year’s I have followed this strand of study, reading the New Testament in the light of our Jewish roots, exploring the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, and finding new insights and revelation in doing so.
The Bat Kol Institute (www.batkol.info) was founded by Maureena and Sr Anne Anderson in 1983, first in Toronto and later, in 1992 it moved to Jerusalem. Bat Kol, meaning ‘Daughter of a Voice’ exists for Christians to study the Bible within its Jewish roots, using Jewish sources. The Institute was born out of the Second Vatican Council and Nostra Aetate which states that God’s covenant with the Jewish people has never been revoked, Jesus was, and always remained, a Jew, and therefore Judaism and Christianity are ‘linked together at the very level of their identity’.
Every July, Bat Kol hold an intensive course drawing students from worldwide to study in Jerusalem. I have applied and been accepted to attend this year’s course which is on ‘Holiness and Wilderness in Leviticus and the Prophetic Readings’. This is a huge opportunity to study and to experience the Holy Land, and although it comes with a cost, I believe it will also bring great rewards. The cost is not just financial, it is also about stepping out on a new journey, one which I am sure God is calling me to, and one which I am prepared to make with ‘uncertain certainty’, knowing God is in it with me. The rewards will be in the knowledge and experience I find, and in the new treasures and insights which I will bring back to you all.
I would be grateful for your prayer support on several levels:
as I seek the funding to attend the course (without it I can’t attend);
as I prepare by learning Hebrew and doing the extensive prior reading;
as I make the journey in July.
On a practical note, please look out for news of an event being planned to contribute to the funding and do your best to support the event. If you can suggest any sources of funding, hold an event yourself, or make any sort of donation to the fund, I should be immensely grateful. Praise the Lord, all our prayers have been answered, both grant funders and friends have 'caught the vision' and responded abundantly with funding, my Hebrew and written assignment has been well received and this week the journey from the UK starts and I still need your prayer support for travel and my time in Israel.