All posts in Travel

  • The Sign That Saves The World

    FraAngelico

    The Sign That Saves The World
    Brian Zahnd

    Look to me and be saved,
    All you ends of the earth!
    –Isaiah 45:22

    Peri and I are on our way to speak at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem and we’re spending a few days in Florence, Italy exploring the cradle of the Renaissance. Visiting the museums and art galleries, I’ve seen hundreds of crucifixion paintings, and I’ve tried to view each one with a reverent eye. I never look at depictions of Christ crucified with a jaundiced eye. Their religious nature and ubiquitous presence may illicit a yawn from the secular cynic, but not from me — I’m an incorrigible Christian. I believe the cross is where Christ saves the world. Looking at the cross with the right eye, the reverent eye of humble faith, is the locus of salvation. The cross is the sign that saves the world.

    Ten years ago when I first began to connect Fyodor Dostoevsky’s enigmatic phrase “beauty will save the world” with the cross — it is at Golgotha that the ugliness of human sin is overcome by the beauty of divine love — the image of the cross as saving beauty that I most often referred to was Fra Angelico’s fresco. Today when we visited the San Marco Monastery I was able to see this fresco painted by the monk-artist Beato Angelico in 1441. As I lingered in contemplation of Fra Angelico’s Crucifixion, it prompted me to once again ask — what does this mean? Take a moment and ponder this question with me.
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  • Dominus Flevet (The Lord Wept)

    DominusFlevet

    Dominus Flevet – The Lord Wept
    Brian Zahnd

    “And when Jesus drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’” –Luke 19:41, 42

    Today is my birthday and I’m with Peri in the Old City of Jerusalem; we’re spending a few days here before leading a pilgrim tour of the Holy Land. This morning we began our day with prayer in the beautiful Church of All Nations located in the Garden of Gethsemane. We then walked to Bethany so we could retrace Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem.

    On what we now call Palm Sunday Jesus arrived in Jerusalem as the long-awaited Messiah and King of All Nations. Unlike Pilate who entered the city from the west riding a warhorse (there’s always some dude on a horse!), Jesus entered the city from the east riding a lowly donkey in a deliberate embrace of Zechariah’s prophecy about a humble king who would come to teach peace to the nations.
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  • Kyrie Eleison

    Camino
    Kyrie Eleison
    Brian Zahnd

    Six months ago I walked across Spain. Five hundred miles.
    Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
    Forty days and forty nights.
    A full life with two full moons. Harvest and Hunter’s.
    Heat and cold. Dust and rain. Wind and calm.
    It was all there.
    Beauty and blisters.
    Ecstasy and exhaustion.
    Pleasures and pains.
    Mountains, forests, and plains.
    Spaniards and Germans.
    Americans and Russians.
    Brazilians and Peruvians.
    Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese.
    They were all there.
    I was all there.
    Every step of the way.
    A million, three hundred thousand — give or take a few.

    I saw my life. The Camino was my life. My life compressed to forty days and forty nights.
    A five hundred mile walk of life. A precise (or at least an approximate) reflection.
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  • What Does This Mean? (Five Hundred Miles of Crucifixes)

    San_Martin_Fromista_cristo
    What Does This Mean? (Five Hundred Miles of Crucifixes)
    Brian Zahnd

    Six months ago Peri and I walked five hundred miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. It was quite simply the most wonderful, most spiritual, most healing thing we’ve ever done. The Camino changed both of us. This morning as I prayed I thanked God in tears for the gift of the Camino. Until today I’ve not written about it, mostly because I’m still absorbing it. But Holy Week seems like the right time to share one aspect of my experience.

    We began the Camino on September 14, 2016 ( Holy Cross Day). After a long trek across the Pyrenees mountains from St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France we arrived in Roncesvalles, Spain. In Roncesvalles I spent some time alone in a thirteenth century chapel gazing on a medieval crucifix. While sitting in this dimly lit sanctuary the Holy Spirit seemed to give me four instructions for my five hundred mile walk:
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  • A Sabbatical Walk to Santiago

    Camino

    A Sabbatical Walk to Santiago
    Brian Zahnd

    I’ve been a pastor for 35 years. One church. Nonstop. I’ve written 3,270 sermons. In the past seven years I’ve written six books. I’ve never been away from my church for two consecutive Sundays except during some international ministry trips. I’ve never gone two Sundays without preaching somewhere…ever.

    Now it’s time for a sabbatical. I’m going to be gone for seven Sundays. No sermon preparation, no preaching, no writing, no counseling. It will be a time of reflection, a time of prayer, and a time of walking.

    Walking, walking, walking…

    Peri and I are going on a 500 mile walk.
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  • Thinking Tikkun Olam in Istanbul

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    I’m sitting on a rooftop in Istanbul. I’m thinking. Thinking about the world. Thinking about Jesus. I’m thinking about Jesus as the savior of the world and the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (“to mend the world”).

    The world is broken.
    It needs mending.
    Jesus is the answer.
    Jesus is the savior.
    Jesus is the savior of the world.

    This is the confession of the gospel.
    This is the witness of the apostles and prophets.
    Consistently, repeatedly, scripturally, evangelistically, apostolically.
    Jesus is the savior of the world!
    Liberate it from cliché and dare to conceive it in a real and radical way.
    Believe it in a fresh, invigorating, imaginative way.
    Jesus
    saves
    the
    world
    !!!
    This world!
    (And not some other.)

    OK, but what shall we do with this apostolic faith in Jesus as the savior of the world? Read more

  • The Crosses of Jerusalem

    Peri and I are in Jerusalem. Today as we walked about the Old City crosses caught my eye. The cross is forever linked with Jerusalem. Allow me to share a few pictures of the crosses of Jerusalem.

    Shalom.
    BZ


    Three Crosses on the Via Dolorosa
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  • Saint Francis of Assisi


    Peri and I are on our way to Israel. Since Tuesday we’ve been in Rome. Yesterday we took a train to Assisi to explore the world of an Italian prophet from the 13th century. Over the past year or so I’ve become fascinated by Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). I’ve read five biographies and listened to one lecture series on Francis. His conversion, his life, his impact upon society are profoundly inspirational. So we went to Assisi.
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  • Atheism

    Warning: Long Blog (take your time).

    I’m in Sydney, Australia. I’ve been ministering at Hillsong Church. I preached six times this weekend and I felt like things went very well. I also had a wonderful time getting to know Paul Scanlon, Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England, Gary Clark, pastor of Hillsong London, Zhenya Kasevich, pastor of Hillsong Kiev and Brendan White, pastor of Hillsong Paris along with many other leaders in the Hillsong movement. It really was a precious time of fellowship and forging new relationships.

    So I don’t know why I felt a little sad today. I thought perhaps I was just ready to come home.
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