Footsteps of Abraham
My own journey of faith started in his hometown.
by David W. Simmons
you ever heard God? I’m not talking about whether you’ve heard God in a soft stillness, like the prophet Elijah,
or as a voice from a burning bush, like Moses. I mean, have you ever made a choice that warmed your heart because you knew
it was God who led you to it? This is what has been happening to me since I arrived in Iraq in March 2006, as part of a Maine
Army National Guard unit.
The setting is more fitting than I could ever have imagined. Only minutes from the center of our base are the ruins of
the ancient city of Ur. Dominating the flat landscape is a ziggurat built at the end of the third millennium b.c. This is
a massive, pyramid-like structure with stairways on three sides.
The Bible connects Ur with Abraham, our great ancestor in faith. This is not where he was living when God told him to go
“to a land that I will show you”—by then, his father, Terah, had moved the whole family to Haran (Genesis
11:31; 12:1). But Ur was the childhood home of the man with whom our covenant with God really began. I count it an honor that
my spiritual adventure is beginning here also.
Easter at Ur. Though I have known God for as long as I can remember, I have been searching for something
all my life. I knew Jesus and was baptized in the Baptist Church on Easter 1972 as an expression of my love for him. Throughout
my high school years, I was very involved in my small church. But I felt I was missing something. I wandered through many
congregations, sometimes avoiding churches altogether.
Then in 2000, I met Prudence, the woman who is now my wife. When we started seeing each other, I often accompanied her
to Mass at a beautiful nineteenth-century church. I enjoyed the peace of the liturgy.
After we married, I decided to attend Mass whenever I was away from home on active duty. Mostly, I admit, I did this as
a way of staying connected with Prudence. We enjoy praying and reading the Bible together, and I wanted to share in the same
Sunday liturgy that she was attending.