From The pastor’s Pen

From The pastor’s Pen

Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was a truly unforgettable experience. It is difficult to describe in words what it feels like to look out upon the same sights that Jesus would have taken in, to walk in his footsteps and to worship in places where he and his disciples would have prayed. Many of the sites related to Jesus’ life were venerated by the earliest Christians, sometimes even used as “house churches” where believers would meet for worship and community. Eventually, larger churches were constructed over the sites. We visited the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, under which one can view the home where Mary lived when the angel visited her with the news that she would bear God’s Son. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem preserves the cave (it was almost certainly not a stable) where she gave birth to Jesus. In Jerusalem, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which claims to be the spot where Jesus was laid after his crucifixion. Beside the Garden of Gethsemane, we knelt in the Church of All Nations to touch the stone upon which Jesus wept as he asked that the cup of suffering might pass from him. We worshipped in a boat sailing the Sea of Galilee on a bright, sunny morning (no need to ask Jesus to still the wind and waves on that day), sang “Alleluia” beneath the dome of St. Ann’s and celebrated Holy Communion near the “Garden Tomb” that commemorates Jesus resurrection. Many of us renewed our baptism at the Jordan River where white doves flew overhead (like the heavenly dove that descended on Jesus as he was baptized by John the Baptist) and squeezed our way through the crowded, narrow streets of ancient Jerusalem, as Jesus surely did as he carried his cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. We all have so many more sights and stories to share than could ever be given justice in a newsletter article. Once we have consolidated and organized the many pictures, videos, and souvenirs that were brought back, we will plan some dates to share them with all of you. In the meantime, keep checking the church Facebook page for postings there. Lastly, I want to thank all of you who shared in the “blessing of the pilgrims” and the Israel themed send-off coffee fellowship. Pastor Ray