Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
Hebrews 2:14 NLT
Today we explored the City of David, visited the Temple steps, prayed at the Western Wall, trekked through the tunnel underneath the Western Wall, and paid our respects to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust as we visited Yad Vashem.
One of the things I love best about my faith is that our God was not satisfied to stay separate from us. That in sending the child born in Bethlehem, God chose to dwell among us as one of us. To “take on flesh and move into the neighborhood” as one of my favorite translations (The Message) of John 1:14 puts it.
Because of that, a trip like the one my fellow pilgrims and I are taking is possible.
Today we stood on the Temple steps – the same steps Jesus would have used to enter the temple. Scholars can argue about the authenticity of virtually every other significant Christian site in Israel, but they cannot argue about the Temple steps. Jesus was there. Repeatedly. Undoubtedly. In the flesh.
I remember being so excited by that on my last trip to the Holy Land. And one of my dreams for this trip was to get a photo of my Mom, Dad and I touching the steps. There are areas of the steps that have been restored and areas that have been left as they were found. For the three of us to lay our hands on the unrestored steps together is a symbol.
A symbol that speaks to the fact that my journey of faith has always been lead by my folks. They are my biological parents, but they are also my spiritual parents. They taught me from my earliest days what it means to love and follow Jesus. When I moved to Thunder Bay to attend Lakehead University, they came with me to check out the local Presbyterian churches during summer vacation, so i could choose where I would worship when school began. When I started lay preaching they encouraged me and prayed for me. When I attended seminary they wept with me during the tough times, celebrated with me during the good times and always spent time discussing the things I was learning with me. When I accepted the call to St. Luke’s in Oshawa, and then to St. Andrew’s in Brampton, they supported me every single step of the way.
So for the three of us to lay our hands down on the steps where Jesus walked, the steps where he would have sat and taught those who would listen, the steps he would have taken as a boy and as a man, speaks to the fact that my faith has always been a group effort with my folks.
I thank God for them (even when they drive me crazy, which is regularly!) and I thank God that we have had the opportunity to take this life changing trip together.
No matter who you are – God has provided people to surround you, support you and be with you on the journey. Name those people in your prayers this evening – tell God how much you appreciate being in community as you journey in faith.