After 48 hours back in the States, I’m still adjusting to the time change and the long flight from the Holy Land, overwhelmed with the emotions of the trip.
Rev. Leigh Spruill prepared us before our departure, challenging us to have only one concrete expectation for the trip: “Pilgrims do not bring decisions with them to the Holy Land. Instead they go to seek prayerfully the decisions God wants them to make. And God will always surprise us.”
It is still early; I am processing the hundreds of sights, smells and feelings of the Holy Land. It is wisdom gained in the history of the area and people of Scripture, but also the feelings of connecting with the people of Jesus’ time as well as those living in Israel today. It was smelling incense that was burned almost 1000 years ago in a church now underground as well as meeting 3 of the students that attend Christian schools with scholarship monies we send. I was also amazed at the compassion of my fellow-travelers from St. George’s and Fr. Kamal as we dove into each other’s lives and cared for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, just like the people of the early church we hear of in Acts.
Fr. Kamal, our host, challenged us repeatedly to learn and repeat the 3 levels of Jesus' teaching: to read God’s word, to understand the metaphors and teaching of morality, and then to go and do his bidding in our world: to love one another.
We went with no decisions. As we go throughout this holiday weekend of Thanksgiving, we continue to pray for God’s direction for our lives. But we now know that we are the salt of the earth and light of the world, commanded to live our lives so that others feel a special taste in their mouth when they are around us: tasting and feeling the glory of our living God.
It is now up to us to Go and Do.
“Oh, Living and Loving God grant us to see with your eyes, to love with your heart and to work hand and hand with you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Blessings, my friend