I’ve been looking forward to February for some time. It will truly be here before you know it. The month … Continue reading Two Events, Two Moments for Hope
I’m sitting in the Newark Liberty International Airport. It’s been a long day. Our plane arrived at 4:30 a.m., and … Continue reading Israel Travel Blog Final Thoughts: An Amazing Journey
Throughout this trip, one of the constant refrains has been how the Holy Land experience of has made brought the Bible to life. One person has said that it has made the Bible go from black and white words to colorful images.
None so more than Psalm 23 and Luke 10:25-37
When we think of Psalm 23 we are drawn to the image of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I think it is easy to take the image as a symbolic reference to life’s difficult trials and even death itself. We look to this Psalm for assurance at funerals and in struggles, and rightly so. I don’t believe, however, that we think of the Valley of the Shadow of Death as a real place. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 8: Even Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death”
It would be easy to write tonight’s column about visiting the place where Jesus was crucified, to talk about what it was like to pray there, to describe the emotions from praying where he was laid to rest, and what it was like to visit the entire Old Jerusalem areas. I will save those for another occasion.
Tonight I’m drawn to the many interactions of conflict we encountered as we walked throughout Old Jerusalem. You couldn’t help but notice it. The signs of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians were all around us. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 7: Journey into Conflict”
It was a moment I will never forget.
Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and standing on a row of bleachers at Roman theater at Caesarea Maritiama, I was able to deliver a devotion for our tour group. The passage was from Acts 10 where Peter goes to Caesarea to meet with Cornelius and recognizes that God shows no partiality in regards to expressing love. I talked about how we are called to welcome all people and to make room for the people in a world that seeks to keep people out who are different than we are.
It was easily one of the high holy moments of my ministry. I would rank it up there with being commissioned, all the baptisms I’ve been able to participate in, and preaching at my hometown church. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 5: An Unforgettable Moment”
Our second full day of touring was a challenging day. Well, at least that is for me.
Since we landed in Tel Aviv on Monday evening I’ve been dealing with a swollen foot. It comes with the territory when flying for 11-hours and, as well, when you have a right foot that easily swells and sprains. Yesterday’s touring just made it worse, which led to me visiting an Israeli drug store to purchase an Ace bandage.
That seemed to help today, but for most of the morning I was in a lot of pain trying to walk around. The trip to the Holy Land is an experienced filled with walking, so to be down a foot has been difficult. Walking to our boat to tour the Sea of Galilee was an exercise in hopping more than walking. The same goes for our tours of the church that honors Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 and the one that honors Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples following his resurrection.
One of the things that I committed myself to doing was not stopping. This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I was not going to let a bum foot keep me from enjoying the day.
I’m glad I had that perspective, because today was a wonderful day of holy encounters meeting the presence of God in these sites. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 4: By Land and By Sea”
Breathtaking. Amazing. Wow.
Those were the words that often expressed my sentiments at the various sites we visited on this our first day of touring in Israel. The amount of Scripture and history we covered in just a few short hours is enough for a lifetime. That we have seven more days to go is just unbelievable.
We began the day by visiting the Gospel Trail. This is a former Roman Road that Jesus would have walked during his journeys in Upper Galilee. It is known as the Gospel Trail, today, because it connects Capernaum, Cana, and Nazareth together. The whole purpose of this trip was to walk where Jesus walked and to gain that experience firsthand. On the Gospel Trail we literally walked where Jesus walked.
That began to put the day into a holy context from the start. The rest of the day would build on that moment. Continue reading “Israel Travel Blog Day 3: An Amazing Journey Begins”