Holy Land Trip Personal

Pondering My Pilgrimage

"So I think my biggest takeaway is that the Holy Land might have begun in Israel, but it was never meant to end there."

Someone has described it as drinking from a firehose for 11 days. Pretty much. I’ve returned from my pilgrimage in the Holy Land and I’m desperate for find some time and space to process it all.

I can’t wait to share some reflections and photos from the trip. As a writer and internal processor, I find great joy doing just that! But I have come home to a busy calendar and my reflections may be slow in coming. I’m hoping to do a 60 minute presentation for our church in the near future featuring a slideshow and commentary on key sights.

For now let me share what Brandon Evans, one of my classmates, shared about the trip.  His words are wise and beautifully put:

I just got back from an educational pilgrimage to Israel with my Doctor of Ministry cohort (plus many new friends). It was a journey through history: Joppa, a couple Caesareas, Magdala, Capernaum, Dan, Jericho, Nazareth, the Dead Sea, En Gedi, Qumran, Masada, Jerusalem, Bethlehem (and other sites).

But it was far more than a history lesson (or a biblical git shop tour). It was an experience of God’s active work in this world and Christ’s ministry that transcends it. The King established his kingdom in ancient towns, but now rules the world eternally. The temple was once made of stone, but it is now a living one. The people of God were once ethnically defined, but now span the human spectrum.

So I think my biggest takeaway is that the Holy Land might have begun in Israel, but it was never meant to end there.

Amen! I look forward to sharing more reflections in coming days, and I hope the sights and sounds and landscape of the Holy Land will seep into my sermons for years to come.

Photo above: I’m perched along the Jericho Road overlooking the rugged wilderness between Jerusalem and Jericho. Think of this when you read Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jeremy Berg is the founding pastor of MainStreet Covenant Church in Mound, Minnesota, and Professor of Theology at Solid Rock Discipleship School. Jeremy is completing his doctorate in New Testament Context under Dr. Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He holds a M.A. in Theological Studies from Bethel Seminary (2005) and B.A. from Bethel University (2002). He and his wife, Kjerstin, keep busy chasing around three kids, Peter, Isaak and Abigail.

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