Last week, I returned from my third trip to the Holy Land. And how blessed my time in Israel was! To walk in places where Jesus walked was both inspirational and educational. As someone rightly said, “You come to the Holy Land reading the Bible in black and white, and you leave reading it in color.” Visiting Palestine certainly opens up one’s perspective and provides rich insight to the Scripture. However, the sites and places should point us to a greater reality . . . the reality of Jesus Christ.
I was especially challenged in this area by Jim Dennison’s reflection on his recent trip to the Holy Land: “Looking out over the Old City of Jerusalem as the sun set over glimmering limestone buildings, sitting in the olive-treed Garden of Gethsemane, standing before the ancient Western Wall, traveling on a ship across the sapphire-blue Sea of Galilee—how could I be in places more holy? Surely, if any places on earth could fill my soul, these would. And yet there was something left out, something more. Something to which we could only point but never become. The city of Jerusalem was just a city. The Garden of Gethsemane was just an olive grove. The Western Wall was just a wall. The Sea of Galilee was just a body of water.” In other words, our focus should not be upon “holy places,” it should be upon a Holy Person. Only through Him can our soul find its satisfaction!
As we move closer toward Easter, I pray we will especially recognize our opportunities to glorify this Person and to declare His greatness. Let’s commit to gather together in our regular worship services. (By the way, what an awesome Community Worship Service we had last Sunday night!) And let’s invite people to join us for these powerful moments. Some people’s spiritual sensitivity may be heightened during this Easter season which provides us an open door to invite them to worship with us. In addition to our regular services, we also have other times when we can draw aside. For example, we will continue our partnership with Zion Traveler by offering a men’s study/breakfast next week. (See The Tidings for details about locations/times). All I am saying is this: don’t miss the opportunity to see God work in your life and in others’ lives this Easter!
Finally, don’t forget to pray and give toward our missionary efforts. Our South Asia team left this morning, and we should be faithful to pray for their empowerment while they are gone. And of course, we need to continue to pray for our North American missions as we support them through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. We still have a long way to go to meet our $60,000 goal, but I am convinced our Lord has blessed us with the resources to achieve this goal!
My friends, our Lord is risen! Jesus is alive! Let’s worship Him as the reigning King, and let’s make His great Name known! See you Sunday!