I’m not sure it’s been what I expected so far.
I’m not sure what I WAS expecting… perhaps some magical feeling or some special sense of inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, being in the holy land has been great, but it hasn’t had that drug-like effect that some might hope for. Maybe I was hoping for that.
In many ways, the holy land is just another place.
But it’s NOT “just another place”.
It’s the land where the Bible “happened”! Every field and hill is the sight of a grand story. Kings among the greatest in history fought and ruled and died just steps from where I’m typing. Our feet have carried us through at least two gates through which Jesus’ feet also carried him. We stood atop a mound of rock, where David very likely stood admiring his kingdom many years ago. Olive trees old enough to have heard Jesus’ prayers in the garden are now caught in digitized forms in my camera.
No, this is definitely not “just another place”.
Yet a dominating thought over the past few days has been that I need to more greatly value whatever place I am given. Back in Canada, I am set next month to preach a series called, “Things Jesus Hates About Religion”; I’ve observed some of those things in this place.
Pilgrims come desperate to pull power from these spots where God once touched down, and to take this power home with them. Prayers prayed in one location are deemed to be more force-filled than those uttered elsewhere. God is sought and wanted, especially in forms that are easily boxed, bartered over, and bought. If the Divine is ready to travel, the crowds here are ready to ship Him home.
But home isn’t “just another place” either.
It’s already a place soaked with the Father of all people.
It’s already a place where His Spirit blows anew every morning.
It’s already a place where lives lived in love and goodness are powerful tools in the redemption of all creation.
And it’s a place where God is found by those who humbly open themselves to Him.
In those senses, the “holy land” spreads a lot farther than we think… and THAT is some of what I likely needed to find in this place so far.