Who could deny the wonder
of riding a boat
across this giant lake
with a stiff breeze
blowing my hair straight back
and whipping up waves?
And because no one has figured out how to build a church on this particular site (thank you Lord) it seemed more "like it might have been," back in the day, a few hundred thousand days ago, when Jesus sailed across that same surface area, surrounded by seabirds and sunset.
Oh, God, it was fantastic.
The quiet dignity of those ancient trees offered a place for pause, to remember, to be silent and deeply grateful.
True, they were not “the ones” under which Jesus agonized, but I will never forget the gnarled beauty of a 900+ year old tree.
And the Man of all sorrows,
He never forgot what sorrow is carried
in the hearts that He bought...
(Andrew Peterson, The Silence of God)
-this particularly worn step on the temple mount Jesus probably crossed that memorable year when his parents lost track of him…
-this is the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering. Jesus dragged the cross, or at least himself, along this street.
-this dark floor beneath Antonio’s palace was likely the place
where Jesus was abused by the soldiers.
“Oh, He was here…and now I am here.”
We even took pictures of our feet in some of those places.
(Our bus mates learned to accept our quirks.)
But in the end, that wasn’t what made it holy ground for me.
Some of you know that our family has a bent toward history-geekiness. In our twenty-something years of home schooling, we’ve hit most of the major historic sites along the north eastern United States-Williamsburg, Plymouth Plantation, Boston, Philadelphia, Pennsbury Manor, Jamestown, Washington DC, etc and we have had the opportunity to walk where many famous people have walked.
But when we returned home from those fascinating places, I never answered the doorbell on Hickory Lane and discovered visitors from a different century, like George and Martha Washington, or even a living icon like George Bush or Jimmy Carter.
I walked where all of these people once walked;
I visited their homes or towns...
but they never visited me.
However, when our Israel journey had ended and we dragged out weary souls out of the van and stepped onto Hickory Lane after a redeye flight from Tel Aviv, Jesus was already here.
How amazing is that?
In Scripture, ground is made holy because God is present. (Exodus 3:4-6) Not because God was there sometime probably, but because He is there, now. Wherever God shows up = holy ground.
This is the miracle, not that I could “walk where Jesus (may have) walked…” but that He walks with me.
When I walked in Israel, I walked with Jesus (although the schedule was packed, and I didn’t have as much opportunity to talk with Him as I would have liked! Amazing trip? Absolutely. Vacation? Not so much!)
But when I arrived home, our walk together continued.
He walks where you walk!!
Think about what your life would be like if Jesus didn’t walk where you walk, every single day!
What if you came home and stepped into your house and Jesus didn’t walk with you there?
What if you walked into that hospital room, that antagonistic supervisor’s office, that impossibly challenging classroom, and you walked alone?
What if you hiked a mountain, surrounded by wonder, and there was no one to thank for the beauty of it all?
because your loved one was buried there,
and you stood alone with your blinding grief?
This is what makes Jesus so amazing.
No other historic, religious or spiritual figure offers
this gift of continual presence.
and it is the best shouldn't-be-kept secret of following Jesus.
This is the Good News,
the God news:
I don’t have to go to The Holy Land to walk where Jesus walks,
because He walks in my world.
Wherever my feet take me, there He is, beside me.
This is my Holy Land, Holy Ground miracle.
Jesus walks where I walk.