“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Matthew 23:37-39)
The Chance of a Lifetime
As many of you know, last November I and a few other members of Sylvania Church joined a group of folks from around America for an academic tour of Israel. It goes without saying that this was an incredible trip and opportunity. Many of you have been wanting to hear about the trip, and hopefully soon, those of you who are able to physically be at Sylvania Church, will hear from the other members who went. I wanted to take the next several blogs, however, to give my own retrospective on the trip.
I have delayed in writing for two reasons. First, I have been a bit busy. When I got back it was the holidays, then Amanda and I had a baby (YAY). So, it has been a bit tough getting this together. Second, I intentionally put off talking about the trip. I have been on enough “adventures” like this to know that there is a sort of buzz you have when you first get back. That buzz can often cloud your ability to express those things that were deeply impactful and lasting from the journey. While on a trip such as this and shortly after returning, everyone minute detail seems life changing. We all know, such is not really the case. So, given that it has been about three months since returning, I think my mind and heart are prepared to identify those truly life-changing moments.
Taking You Along on The Journey through Israel
There were seven “main days” of the trip. During that time, we went as far north as Mt. Hermon (which borders near Lebanon and Syria), as far south as the lower part of the Dead Sea, as far west as the Jordanian border, and as far east as the Mediterranean Sea at Tel Aviv. All in all we covered about three-fourths of the country: all in seven days! I am obviously not going to be able to cover everything. What I am going to do is give you a significant snapshot of each day, coupled with a spiritually impactful, life-altering occurrence from each day. On my journey, I had at least one significant, overwhelming moment each day. Those are the things I would like to share with you. There will be nine blog posts in all: the introduction (today’s), one for each of the main days, and one to conclude everything.
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
During my journey through Israel, my main task from our group was to take pictures. Paul took audio, Randy took video. We all took pictures, but that was my main task. So, I snapped over 1300 pictures! I will not be including all of these here. But, for effect and clarity, I will be including some. I would like to close this blog post with a picture of me from “Day 2” overlooking the Sea of Galilee near the top of Mt. Arbel.