“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Here I am to Worship...
Here I am to Bow Down...

Sea of Galilee, Tabgha

I don’t think that I have mentioned that part of our justification for coming on this "trip of a lifetime" was because Anthony and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary later this year. I mean when you spend this much money… you really have to justify it, right? Well, another justification… was my 40th birthday. I think some of you missed that… I know I wasn’t clear about it…. But when I said “Celebrating Forty Years in the Desert”… I meant mine!

On the Mount of Olives

Yesterday we arrived in Jerusalem. Our first stop was the Mount of Olives. The guide educated us on where we were... and what lay before us. The Temple Mount. The steps of the 2nd Temple that Herod had built. Old Jerusalem. The City of David.

Another highlight was singing together on the Mount of Olives overlooking the incredible historic sacred view... "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Here I am to Worship." Here I am to worship... Here I am to bow down... and so I did! Right towards the Temple. Towards the Holy of Holies... How cool is that!

Author Joel Rosenberg commented on Israel being the "epicenter" of the world. Jerusalem is the "epicenter" of Israel. The Temple Mount is the "epicenter" of Jerusalem. He encouraged us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). There is such a struggle for this piece of land. Warfare. Physical as well as spiritual.

Hezekiah's Wall

After lunch we traveled through the Zion Gate and had a tour of Jerusalem. We were able to see the actual roads built by Romans and a wall that had been built during Hezekiah's reign about 8 BC. We walked part of the Via Dolorosa (the last steps of Jesus) and visited the Holy Sepulcher (where some say Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead).

Via Dolorosa

What I had thought would be a spiritual highlight of the tour... was actually, spiritually draining. The photos I have seen over the years of the Via Dolorosa and the Holy Sepulcher looked so spiritual... so pristine... so sacred.

Holy Sepulcher

Reality was most of the Via Dolorosa is in the Muslim quarter. It was dark and dirty and filled with shops. There were so many people and none of them looking very concerned that they were where Jesus had been. And the Holy Sepulcher... really, what would Jesus think of six different "communities" fighting over his last moments? Didn't Jesus teach of love and peace and patience? To say the least, I was dismayed and wanted to run away from there.

The Wall. The Western Wall. The Wailing Wall.

I am thoroughly mentally and physically exhausted. I really was naive and expected to come to Israel and be renewed spiritually... however, I have found the opposite. Everything is so rushed on the tours... I've had to blog every day so that I can remember what I did or thought... and there is so much division between the Jews, Muslims, and Catholics... There is no peace here.

I really don't want to burst anyone's bubble in my posts about the Holy Land... but in a way, I wish I had really understood... what I already knew to be true... God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not reside in these artifacts or places. They are with us always. Everywhere we go. If we ask, Jesus will come into our hearts and live there. Oh, I am so grateful to know the truth... Thank you, my Risen Savior, Jesus!


Melissa said...

"God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not reside in these artifacts or places." AMEN!

Preach it! I'm guessing when Jesus walked these places he wished it had been peaceful, pristine and calm, too. That those around Him would see and bow down, worship. . .

I don't think it it was like that. It seems more like it was chaotic. Remember, He overturned the vendors tables in the temple. The Via Delorosa was probably crowded and noisy with rude people pushing to get a look on His way to die for them. There were few who understood.

You said, "To say the least, I was dismayed and wanted to run away from there." But you didn't. . . and aren't you glad Christ didn't either. You bowed down and worshiped. I'm proud of you!

I'm praying that when you are home and rested you can reflect and learn more. It will be a trip of a lifetime!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful from here. I am sure that it is a lot different than in Jesus day.
Love Ruth

Tanner Family Blog said...

I remember feeling the same way when I was there. I remember being shocked by the chaos there among the different people. But now that I'm home, I look back on that trip and feel that I have a better understanding of the Savior's life. I'm so glad you're blogging every day - it will help you remember everything you saw! I can't wait to talk to you when you get back!

CROQ Zine said...

I just read through the remainder of your visit. It looks amazing! I am glad you blogged about it, too. Thank you for sharing.

CROQ Zine said...

That was Heather. :)