Hello there from the Holy Land! It’s been a bit of a challenge to get this to you, I’ve had all sorts of technical difficulties, but here we are. So, grab a cup of tea and some hummus with a pita,and get comfy. This isn’t going to be your typical travelogue, of course not, it’s me. But let’s talk about Pilgrimage and how it can translate far above a simple travel trip.I’m sure I told you I was literally out of the country on one of my previous posts. The technology is great; I had already pre-scheduled a couple of posts to let me stay consistent for you. Hopefully all y’all enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. 🙂
But Pilgrimage is special. It’s a spiritually motivated trip, in this case to many sacred sites in the Holy Land – also known as Palestine and Israel. I absolutely am not going into the politics and geo-political stuff here.
So far, we’ve finished Day 2 of what has promised to be a God-ordained trip. He surely set this all up and made it all come together for me to be here. I should tell you that prior to this, I had never even wanted to travel. So, when my friend Denise Bossert asked me one night via social media to join her, I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me when I said, “Why not?” There were SEVERAL reasons “Why Not”, but somehow the Lord managed to get me past all my own reasons, cut through quite a lot of red tape, put impossible connections together, and here I am. He has overcome time, space, finances, employment and physical health obstacles. Any single one of them could have easily cancelled the whole idea. But He wanted me here. That’s part of Pilgrimage.
As I sit here and reflect over the past few days, from all the travel, to some of the people I’ve met and the encounters I’ve had with the Lord and His Blessed Mother, I’m completely blown away to tears. Again. (I actually text my boss and told him to take out stock in tissues – he would be a rich man.) When I left home, I think I was planning to visit a lot of Biblical sites, meet some people, gain some intellectual knowledge and be better for it all. God had other ideas.
Pilgrimage isn’t as much about visiting physical places and spaces as it is about our interior places and spaces. It’s about visiting places where God has moved very powerfully before, and finding that He wants to open a door into our very selves, and to move in that space. We’ve visited a couple of places that were wonderful. We visited one this morning that humbled me to my knees and opened up my spirit in ways I could never put into words, changing my life forever. That’s Pilgrimage.
I’ve learned a bit about how others interact with the Lord. I’ve learned a bit about how I handle fear and adversity, when the cane/seat that I was ‘required’ by my doctor to have, was lost by the airline before I ever even got to Israel. I pray that someone in Turkey who really needed it is making good use of it! I’ve also learned to let others help me, and that I’m not the only crazy one who will wake up in the middle of the night to grab my pen or computer and write.
I been driven to deeper prayer than I’d experienced prior. I’m experiencing a sense of being in spiritual Boot Camp – after 40 years as a dedicated Christian, I thought I’d experienced some things. But this far surpasses anything I’ve ever known.
If anyone had told me that Pilgrimage was important, I would have laughed. If they had told me I had to leave the USA to experience it, I would have laughed a little harder. But the truth is this: We all need Pilgrimage, and we can all go on Pilgrimage right where we are. We simply need to ‘travel’ to a place in our own hearts and minds where the Lord can speak clearly and deeply to us, without distractions. I know how hard that is in our day to day life. I have one of those, too.
It’s truly beyond words to be in places He walked, places He talked, where He was born, did miracles, was Transfigured and then Died and left an empty tomb. But Pilgrimage could be anyplace, free of the cell phone, the i-pod and i-pad and computer, where we can just be with the Lord. Intentionally be with Him, open to His voice, ready for whatever He says or does – and He is quite unpredictable. I’ve been surprised to tears several times here. I’ve also been surprised to tears back home on retreat. After all, He is God who transcends time and space. So who’s ready for Pilgrimage?