BY LISA CREED
My trip to the Holy Land broadened my understanding culturally, politically, and most of all spiritually. The first three nights of the trip we slept in Bethlehem, and took day trips throughout Palestine and Israel.
There was each night a fierce wind howling outside of our hotel room balcony. As Curtis and I would read the Bible passages relating to the next day’s journey, I felt as if that wind was the Holy Spirit speaking. I felt as if Jesus was saying, “You are in my birthplace, welcome! Come, learn, and know more about me”.In John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit.” At this particular time, I knew exactly where this wind was from – the Holy Spirit.For many of us on the trip, the Sea of Galilee was transformative. It was a cold, blustery day for our boat ride. I could not help but think of Jesus walking on those rough waters to reach his disciples. Towards the end of ride, the dark clouds parted and rays of sunshine broke through, illuminating the mountain pass that Jesus had walked through. This was undeniably God’s work. I felt (along with many others in our group) Jesus’ presence, his great love, and his boundless grace. Like the message from one of Brady’s recent sermons, I understood and knew of my place with God here and in eternity.I had spent the last year caring for my elderly parents and saying goodbye to them after their long grace-filled life and difficult protracted illness. I knew, when I saw those rays of sunshine, that they were with God and letting me know, “all is well”.
I encourage everyone to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It’s hard to explain the magnitude it has on one’s religious life. For me, it put flesh on Jesus; Bible readings will never be the same for me. After spending a week walking with other members of our church on the same rocks and stones where Jesus walked I have a much deeper relationship with Jesus than I did before.