On Wednesday, September 27, we were transported to our next destination, the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Westminster Theological Seminary is recognized as a stronghold for Reformed Christian theology. It is one of the most highly-regarded Presbyterian Reformed institutions in the world with a satellite location in London, England.
I was invited to speak and chant at a Torah Scroll Dedication held at the Seminary. The dedicated Torah Scroll is 400 years old, and was taken out of use in ritual services because of its age.
A Torah scroll that is fit for ritual use must have every letter of the scroll perfectly written. With age, parchment at some point cannot absorb ink to repair the writing and thus becomes ritually unusable.
It was donated for study through the generosity of Barbara and Ken Larson. The Larsons currently call Florida their home, though you’re more likely to find them in Israel, Russia or at an airport! Someday (soon) we hope to meet Barbara who was unable to attend this momentous event. Janice and I were impressed by the humble excitement in Ken’s voice when describing their mission to donate century-old ritually unsuitable Torah scrolls that would otherwise have had to be permanently removed from circulation. Through their generosity these scrolls will now be available for present and future educational purposes.
The dedication ceremony began with an inspirational welcome from my friend Rev/Dr. Peter A. Lillback, a distinguished author and historian. He is the author of the biography “George Washington’s Sacred Fire,” based on 20 years of primary source research and scholarship on the life of George Washington. He is also a senior editor at Unio cum Christo: An International Journal of Reformed Theology and Life.
Highlights of the event included a flawlessly pantomimed recitation by (and through) her heart of the creation story from Genesis by Professor of Hebrew Scriptures Elizabeth Groves. Another was the respect and knowledge conveyed by Dr. Scott Carroll, a leading expert in rare, biblical papyri and scrolls regarding the treatment of the Torah Scroll.
Throughout the entire world people go about their day teaching or learning; preaching to or from; without a shred of connection to those with different beliefs, customs or habits.
Destination Peace seeks a universal bridge for everyone to walk together in peace. Wherever you are standing now, throughout the world: that bridge lies beneath your feet! If we sing together, the harmony will truly come.