Come along to the Holy Land

My new passport arrived today. I slid it from the red-striped ExpressPost envelope and flipped through its ornate pages, wondering which country’s stamps will one day decorate the crisp parchment. India? Africa? US? UK? God alone knows.

One country is likely. I’ve known that ever since the day the Preacher walked into the house, about as excited as I’ve seen him in the last half-dozen years. “I agreed to consider something for us today,” he said.

I sighed. Life already feels too crowded, sometimes. “What now?”

Grinning, he began. Our friend Dennis, manager of the Rock, a local Christian radio station, which features my week-day Simple Words radio spots and the bi-weekly program, God Talk with the Preacher, had asked him something earlier that day.

“Would you and Kathleen be interested in leading a Rock-sponsored tour group to Israel next March?” he’d wondered.

Would he? The Preacher could hardly keep still, talking about it. Visiting the Holy Land has long been on his bucket list.

We began praying for enough health for him to make the trip. To realize the dream of walking where Jesus walked. Touching, perhaps, some of the things that Christ touched. Wading into the river where John baptized the Saviour of the world. Boarding a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee, whose waters felt the footsteps of Christ. Visiting the places that still bear the Bible names that resonate with people of faith the world over: Jerusalem. Nazareth. Bethlehem. Jordan. Dead Sea, and more.

Friends have returned from such trips, their faith enriched, eager to share what they’ve experienced. With that in mind, I paused and pondered extra long today as I read these verses in 1 John 1, penned by a long-ago follower and friend of Jesus, the Apostle John.

John too, was eager to share what he and others had experienced first-hand in his homeland of Israel. “(We) heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands,” he wrote. “The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.”

Centuries later, we’ll have a vastly different Israel experience than did John. But, God willing, we and our fellow travelers will return with joy, our faith-sails filled with fresh wind. As excited as John, for the Jesus he knew in the flesh, we know through the Spirit.

“(We) saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! 1 John 1: 3-4 The Message.

Like John, we want to share this. Why not join the Preacher and me in Israel? If you’d like more information, email me at Kathleen@kathleengibson.ca. Don’t wait, though—the tour, which departs from Regina, will take place from March 2-11. (Best-price tickets must be spoken for by mid-November.)