Got back from the Holy Land this week and thought I'd take a moment to share some of the many things that I've taken home with me.
1. Devotion and Dedication
Perhaps the most moving part of my trip was standing at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem with the many Jews and Rabbis that were praying. I can honestly tell you that I stood in absolute awe. It's the first time that I can say that I've experience such a feeling. I didn't cry...I just took it all in. Absorbing the prayers of the righteous and unrighteous alike that had gone up from that place over the 1000's of years. The wall is just saturated with prayers and I remember thinking to myself as I took my piece of paper and stuffed into the wall, "I am so small. There are so many requests here. And yet God cares about mine so much." It was such a powerful moment.
In case you're curious, my request included prayers for our new building, for all of our partners, for all of my Facebook friends, for all of my pastoral relationships, and my family. So just know, you are covered at the wall. What a feeling that is.
2. Journey into Jerusalem
We actually spent the first 2 days of the trip in Tiberius which actually North of the City of Jerusalem, about an hour and a half away by Bus. Here we visited famous sites such as the Sea of Galilee (one of the smallest Seas I've ever seen), the Mount of Beatitudes and the Jordan River. The Jordan River shouldn't be called a river, it's more like a stream. I could dive into it and swim to the other side in roughly 30 seconds.
So it was Tuesday afternoon when we started our journey into Jerusalem. Kendra and the other Daystar singers went off to visit one of our hosts rabbi's so our bus was mostly vacated but our guide began to play a song called, "Oh Jerusalem" as we entered into the city and it was one of the most incredible moments of my life. The Holy Land...wow!
3. Saturated with Histoy
I've never been anywhere so saturated with history. Jerusalem is one giant excavated region. The further down you dig, the more history you uncover. The walls of the old City are literally layered through thousands of years. The first 4 rows of stone are from the 2nd temple period, the next 4 from the Ottomatic period, the next 4 from another and so on and so on...
4. Western Spirituality is Weak
I walked away greiving and sick to my stomach comparing Western religion to that world. In Israel, your faith is your life. You will fight by it, die by it and thrive by it. Not only do the Christians there know a lot about the region, but they know their bible and have done much to carefully write the book on their heart so that they may be careful to do everything written in it. It was of great inspiration to me to make my faith my life instead of just involving it as a Sunday hobby like so many Westerners do.
5. Jet lag is real.
I'm telling you, my body has been ROCKED from this trip. From the moment that I arrived to even this day, I feel like I've been ran over 30 times by a herd of roaming antelope. Sick, tired and yet desiring to see everything is not a winning combination. Next time I go overseas to Israel, I'm going to be much more prepared to fight jet lag effectively!
On another note, Tiger Woods: I really feel for you this day. You are just another reminder that regardless of who we are and what we're involved in, all of us are 1 decision away to moral failure. We have to guard our lives carefully and tread lightly. I really am remembering this guy in my prayers. I don't wish the fire that he will now go through on anybody.