Posted by: ritagone | December 5, 2018

Impressions of the Holy Land — Part 2

 

 

Again, what is my take-away from my trip to Israel?

Now that I’ve been home for almost two weeks, what lingers in my mind’s eye, what truths are in my heart permanently after our trip to the Holy Land?  Last week I shared what surprises the visit had for me: the crowds, the commercialism, the complications of the history and the current political and social situation.

Today I’d like to finish my thoughts about the trip to Israel with what I think I’ll keep forever in my heart:

First, if you’re a believer in and follower of Jesus, you can’t help but be touched and moved by being there, by seeing with your eyes and touching with your fingers and reaching out with your own soul the land where He walked and lived and taught and eventually died and rose again.  He never left this country, so what you are seeing are the boundaries of His human existence.  And it is now so vivid for me to read, for example, the gospel accounts of His walks from one town to another as He taught and lived life with His disciples and those who walked along with Him.  Those weren’t easy walks.  The roads were rough and sometimes dangerous.  The distances He and His disciples traveled were longer than I had thought they were, walking and talking and sharing whatever food they had along the way.  Now that I have seen the terrain and the countryside, I can appreciate more than ever what His days and weeks looked like while He ministered to the people around Him.  Those are images that are invaluable in terms of my own Bible study and teaching and, probably more importantly, in my own journey with Jesus.

Secondly, I have come to understand what a complicated situation exists in the Holy Land between the Palestinians and the Israelis and other groups who are involved.  As is almost always the case, there are two or three or sometimes even four sides to the story.  No one is completely innocent or completely guilty.  Everyone feels they have right on their side, God on their side.  These issues are so layered and intense that it’s no wonder to me that governments and bodies like the United Nations have been unable to define a workable peace.

Then, the phrase that keeps repeating itself over and over in my mind is this: Israel is not for the faint of heart, both spiritually and physically.  I’ve been to countries in my travels over the years that have required a degree of physical agility (Greece comes to mind), but none compare to the physical skill and stamina required when you’re hiking and sight-seeing in the Holy Land.  Added to that is the amount of mental material you are trying to absorb, and you can almost feel your brain exploding.  This is perhaps why I maintain that I’m still processing the trip and all that we saw and learned even though it’s been a few weeks since we were there.  I sincerely believe it will be many more weeks if not months before I truly understand what I have experienced.  Maybe I never will get it all soaked in and absorbed.  That’s okay too.  It’s a trip to be savored and remembered and re-lived over and over again.

Lastly, let me encourage those of you who have never been to Israel to consider going, especially if you are a follower of Jesus.  A trip there will broaden your spiritual insights and your relationship with God in a way that travel to other places will not.  It’s well worth the effort and the expense (and the long flight).  Put it on your bucket list and try to go while you’re spry and as healthy as possible.  You will not regret it.

And some time if you’re with me in person, ask to see my photos, on my iPhone.  They’re actually quite nice, I think, and I’ll even do a running monologue to go along with them!

I’m going to take a bit of a break from Rita’s Ramblings for the rest of this year to read and relax and study for what I’m teaching at our womens’ Bible study at church, Connection, which will reunite on January 17.

So let me take a minute to wish everyone reading this a very, very happy and blessed Christmas, wherever you are around the world, and a New Year filled with God’s blessings and the peace that passes all understanding.  I’d offer the “next year in Jerusalem” prayer, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Holy Land that soon!

With love and greetings of peace and shalom to all of you, Rita

 

(The photo is of the Wailing Wall, now referred to as the Western Wall, the men separated from the women by a partition.)

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