Archive for Dec 2012

I recently re-discovered these pictures from my trip to Egypt earlier this year while doing some drive cleanup. As a break from diving, I took a one day trip into Sinai to visit the St. Catherine monastery and climb Mt. Sinai, also known as Mt. Moses around the local parts.  What struck me most about this day was the strange combination of awe-inspiring wonder and very human irony that I repeatedly came across while encountering so many sacred places.

I viewed the recently trimmed burning bush pouring out of its planter with a conveniently placed fire extinguisher nearby.  I spent 3.5 hours climbing Mt. Sinai with a bedouin guide who had the trots from bad chicken at lunch. There was a lot of “Go! Go! I catch up!” as I meandered my way up the trail.  And looking forward to a quiet, meditative experience at the chapel at the top of the mountain, I managed to summit with a large group of Indonesian pilgrims who decided to hold a public (and very loud!) praise meeting full of keening, praising, and speaking in tongues.  Not knocking the pentecostals among us, but it certainly wasn’t what I pictured at the top of Mt. Sinai!

Though I no longer participate in organized religion, these ironies and the humanity they are contingent on, are for me, the most sacred parts of life, and perhaps faith.  Foibles, mistakes, ironies, and inconsistencies differentiate us as human beings and mark the passage of time. They build character and define experience.  I am grateful, especially during this season, to be reminded of these things and this extraordinary day in Egypt.

*Featured in part in the pictures below is Mt. Sinai, the burning bush (and fire extinguisher), the St. Catherine Monastery, Meribah, the rock that Moses struck to give water to the quarreling Israelites, and the Greek orthodox chapel that sits at the top of the mountain.

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