Holy Land, Day 4
During the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I went on a missions trip to Ecuador with other RCA teens. We spent the first week in Guayaquil helping at an orphanage and the second week in Quito participating in the VBS program of a local church, along with some other activities I now longer remember. That trip was transformational for me and my understanding of God's call on my life; it also wrecked me in some of the most beautiful ways. We had videographers with us during the first week (at the orphanage) who captured activities and also interviewed each member of the team. That fall, when the team gathered together again to watch the finalized video, I was shocked to be the only person with no part of their interview shown. I was informed after the viewing that the reason my interview was not included is because they had no reel of me not crying. Like I said, the trip wrecked me!
So, when setting out on this trip, I anticipated a somewhat similar experience, especially once we are in Jerusalem and more intentionally discussing the Israel/Palestine conflict. Our first days of experiences were unique and cool--but nothing that really hit heavy. That all changed today--and I'm certain this is only the beginning.
Deconstruction of faith is a real animal and it comes full force when proof and faith appear in conflict. Yet, those moments, for me at least, are also confirming a more expansive understanding of the vastness of God. Not to mention the number of times I've asked myself, "If this particular thing can't be proven or shows something different than the text indicates, does that mean I have to get rid of it all?" Those questions are heavy and take a lot of journal processing, which I'll do elsewhere--at least for now.
What brought me to tears today, I think, was the culmination of two significant site visits with the deconstruction questions. I led devotions tonight and was moved to tears during that time by the energy in the room, my internal wrestling, and my verbalized wrestling. I feel as if we're on the cusp of deep faith dives and I know the transformation of my own faith is going to be more than I can imagine. These next few days are going to be beyond words, but I'll try to find the words each day.
So, what was most impactful for me today? Visit Capernaum, complete with remnants of both a synagogue from Jesus' time and the 4th century one built atop that foundation, walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and knowing that in each place I stepped, Jesus likely also stepped. It. Is. Mind-blowing! From Capernaum, we made our way to the Jordan River, where we waded and the entire group participated in a baptism remembrance ritual. IN the JORDAN RIVER!! What? It's amazing. It's unreal. It is impossible to fully digest, or it feels that way. But I'll keep trying.
For those wondering, today we also visited the site of Hazor (captured and burned by Joshua, recorded in Joshua, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings), Mount of the Beatitudes, and Magdala. The Magdala site only recently (within the last 15 years) discovered and excavated. Magdala is believed to be the hometown of Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus freed from demons and became one of his disciples. It was also near Magdala that we had lunch from a local café (similar to, but way better than, Panera) while seated outside near the base of Mt. Arbel. Seeing it all listed like that helps me understand why I'm so tired!
More to come in the days ahead; for now, here are two pictures, one from each of my favorites from the day.