I spent Christmas in the mountains.
For the first week I went to Samaria. The first week was interesting, hanging out near Mt Gerizim. You seriously build up a thirst in the dusty country but my travelling companion had no bucket for the well. Interestingly on the first day, we met this local woman. She was unaccompanied, which we thought rather odd and she seemed rather urgent as she went about her task, collecting water for her household. Guarded at first, she wondered what our motives might be in requesting that she fetch us a drink from the well but she soon warmed up and before we knew it we were having an interesting theological conversation about what constitutes proper worship. We never got our drink though, time seemed to pass quickly and before we knew it she had discarded the very bucket she came to the well to fill to run off in a desperate hurry in some state of considerable excitement.
She returned however, bringing people with her, so keen they were to talk with us that we accepted an invitation to be hosted by the town for a couple of days so that we could learn from one another, discuss our common ancestry and clear up a couple of issues. It was all really rather nice and we left feeling hopeful that relations between ourselves and the Samaritans might be greatly increased as a consequence.
Week two Polish Christmas preceded English Christmas and then my husband and two children left me home alone for a few days so I could travel to Galilee for a promised meeting. I can not remember the precise name of the mountain I climbed with a party of eleven others but quite instinctively we felt very quickly that we were making progress in the right direction. It was a hard climb and I must admit several of us were in a high state of anxiety, not knowing quite what was in store for us.
I am left quite speechless about what we witnessed on that mountain and words do not come easily to describe whom we encountered, only to say we were all left changed forever and have a new sense of purpose to our lives. There was an empowerment and a promise of the continual presence of he whom we had been requested to meet. We have been commissioned for the greatest of missions and really can not predict what the future might look like. Each of us has a new sense of security about what we must do, knowing anew that we are resourced by a person whose power has no end. The future looks bright.
And tomorrow, I am back to college for the last six months of a journey that began about seven years ago when I was asked to lead the toddler church. In six months' time, a four year curacy will begin and then who knows where we will be going next, whatever happens the plan is just to keep on walking it out.