|View of Jersualm from Mt. Scopes|
Before my conversion I did not consider going because it just was not the place to travel if you do not have sufficient motivation. And after my conversion, it just seemed like too much, like something that I should put off as much as possible in much the same way that early Christians put off their baptism until their death bed. It was just not something that I felt I was ready for or deserved.
When my parents invited me to go to the Holy Land, I initially thought, "No way." I did not feel worthy. I also thought, "If I go to the Holy Land, what more is there for me to do?" But I took it to prayer and at one point in front of the tabernacle I heard Jesus say to me, "Come see me. See my home. Understand me." I did not quite understand what Jesus was saying to me but I obediently made plans to join my parents on the trip.
Even though I was pretty confident I had heard an affirmative answer in prayer, serious doubts crept into my mind as the trip drew near. I think humans, despite our constant clinging and grasping at pleasure, have a hard time reaching for what is good or accepting the good in our lives. For me, this comes from the fear that all that is good cannot last, and the belief that there is a limit to the good things that can happen to me. Eventually, I always feel like I am living in a house of cards, the good things in my life have to come tumbling down at some point or reach some kind of limit. These feelings also come from my incomplete understanding of love. Human love is limited and conditional. It runs out, gets impatients and sometimes stops altogether. And sometimes we project our own limitations on God and what we believe His will is for our lives. It is often hard for me to believe that what He wills will be something that I consider to be good. I always expect challenges and difficulties from God but rarely pleasure and fun. It is easier for God to surprise me that way but it also makes for a pretty distrustful relationship. I am always checking my peripheral vision, trying to see what is coming up from behind me to ruin my happiness.
But thankfully, despite my misgivings, lack of trust and doubts, I made it to the Holy Land.
Stepping for the first time on the soil of the epicenter of the world, I felt the desire to fall to my knees and kiss the ground. As we drove from the airport to the Sea of Galilee I looked out the windows of the bus and a strange feeling of being at home washed over me. It was a feeling that frankly, I did not expect. I am not Jewish so how can I feel at home in this land that is so far from mine, so different from mine?
It was a feeling that I would explore and absorb and rest in for the rest of my trip.
Next - Capernaum