A little late for my normal Media Monday, but the time change has thrown things off a bit – enjoy.
A pilgrimage is not a vacation. Despite the beautiful places we’ve stayed on our trip there hasn’t really been much down time. I’ve struggled with this alittle bit. I’m a person who needs to process information and experiences and seek quiet spaces in which to do just that. There has been no time or place to seek that quiet. There’s just so much to see here and we are most certainly on a schedule to get as much done as possible.
I love learning about Israel’s history and making connections to the places and scriptures that refer to them, but it’s been a mental connection. Don’t anticipate, just participate. That’s the motto we’re running with here and honestly that is exactly what I prayed for before we arrived, but I suppose there was some level of expectation in regards to a more spiritual connection. Rising early and moving all day made me exhausted and at day’s end, sleep was all I sought.
I shared this with our spiritual guide and former pastor and he reminded me that in all that Jesus experienced, in the days leading up to his passion, there was noise and distractions; a reminder that life surrounds us with these things and we need to purposely seek out God in the midst of that. So today was a slower day, a day where there was some time to reflect a bit. As we travelled into Jerusalem, my eyes looked at the land that Jesus walked and talked with his friends and suddenly my heart ached a little. Such hustle and bustle, noise and chaos as the people and vehicles crowded the streets of the city.
We were heading to the Mount of Olives. A place where Jesus ran from the busyness of the crowds that surrounded him, to seek some quiet. He needed to remove himself from those he travelled with and enter into a place with God. It was here that Jesus looked out over the city of Jerusalem and wept. As I stared in the same direction and into the crowds that surround me, I too wanted to weep. Even for those who love and follow Christ, we forget. We forget in the normalcy of our day, the errands and business of work, that he gave everything for us. Everything!
When you see the terrain and all he prepared himself for to perfect what man could not do on his own, you get a sense of awe when you realize – THIS was for me. It really is something we take for granted. Many times throughout the day, I had to close my eyes and fixate on one image that helped me go back in time to ponder what happened there. Images like the field of olive trees or the stone grottos where I imagined the conversations Jesus had with his disciples. The same conversations that would become the stories we hear about in the New Testament.
Although it was possible for people back in Jesus’ time to travel by donkey or camel, it was much more likely for them to travel by foot and in groups for safety. Let me tell you, walking on these stone paths isn’t an easy task and I’m not walking near as much as they did. But just like us, the people back then talked as they walked and shared about current events, family life, and their faith. The places they passed, the things they saw on their journey were visible reminders of the stories that they shared. We experience these stories from those who began to document them in scripture.
As I’ve mentioned before, I recently participated in a bible study that changed my entire perspective about my faith. For the first time in my life, I saw this book as more than a library of “history” books about our faith and recognized it as a love story of a God who was trying to show His people how to love. This journey is a walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, recognizing our sinfulness and our need for a savior to perfect the brokenness with in all of us.
The song below – Lover Of My Soul – reminds me of the beauty in the dance as each partner moves in response to the other – a give and take. A story, a message, an understanding of what is given and then to respond in kind to one another, despite our color, race, or religion. To live in peace, side by side as brothers and sisters.
So dance with me oh lover of my soul – to the song of all songs. Romance me oh, lover of my soul – to the song of all songs.