I should be in Israel with my friends right now…..although I’m obviously where I’m supposed to be because I am here and they are there! It’s all about timing.
I just got a call from my buddies and they are having a GREAT time! Touring through the countryside and visiting the markets. It was a wonderful experience last March when I was in Israel and I can’t wait to go next year! Imagine walking where Jesus walked!! Seeing shepherds walking with their flocks by the side of the road. It is a beautiful country and I am privileged to have been able to see this first-hand.
Jimmy had given me a phone so I could call and SWEAR that I was safe and not stranded somewhere near the Dead Sea. It sounded so odd when he would ask me where we were and I would reply, “Oh, we are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.” Later we would be on the Jordan River where some of us decided to be baptized. It seemed so surreal.
One of my favorite places was the city of Jerusalem. Wow. The streets were filled with so many different people!
It was exciting and frightening all at once! I will say that there weren’t a lot of ‘friendly’ faces down those streets. Everyone seemed to be so suspicious of each other and I seemed to be the only one saying, “Hi!” I was told by the group to just keep my smiles and waves to myself. Hmm…. doesn’t sound like friendly advice, but I took it.
Another favorite of mine was the Garden of Gesthame. Wow. Imagining where Jesus prayed before he was sent to the cross to be crucified. We entered the Garden very reverently and found a quiet spot where we could meditate, pray or just drink in all the surroundings.
Visiting the tomb where Jesus was laid was also very special. It was so moving that most of us were crying before we left the area.
And with the Easter Holiday coming up we can safely say:
That’s what Easter is all about. The Resurrection. The Cross. And with Spring being just a day away it is a time for renewal and reflection. That’s why God the Father has instructed you and me to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”. If the people we tell are not interested–they reject the Father’s offer of His Son–then we are released from our obligation. We are not to force or coerce anyone to accept Jesus as his or her personal Savior and Lord. We just move on and tell someone else.
Even though I went to the other side of the world…and back….I think we are closer to heaven than ever….