Today we visited Qaser Al Yahud – the site where Joshua lead the people across the Jordan to the promised land, the place where Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire, and the place where Jesus was baptized by John – we toured the site of Qumran – where the Essenes lived in Jesus’ day, and where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in caves in the hills – and floated in the Dead Sea.
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Romans 11:33 NLT
One of the fascinating things about leading a tour like this, is you never know what will most excite, inspire and move the people you are leading.
The first time my Father travelled the Holy Land with me, he was brought to tears by two things we saw just through the windows of the bus (the site of Kursi, where our current tour held worship yesterday, and the site of Mount Precipice, which our current tour got to explore). He still can’t talk about them without becoming emotional. Who knew that something we just drove past, would have such a profound effect on him?
Every time I bring people here, I’m amazed by the things that they find profound and moving. You always know, as a leader, that people of faith are going to be deeply affected by their experience in this land, but you never know which site or which experience will be the one to get to them.
My group of Graceview congregants have been gushing about the Dead Sea scrolls all day. They’ve found today the most exciting day of the tour (they were also really blown away by the Baptismal Site and by the Dead Sea, as well).
What Paul is saying to the church in Rome in the verse above is that none of us knows how God is going to grab hold of someone’s heart. To borrow a phrase from U2 – He moves in mysterious ways!
This is why, as the church, we have to make room for each other. We have to make room for the fact that your experience of God may not be the same as mine, but that God loves us both, dearly.
The hymn that you love (for example) might grate on my nerves, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t sing it. In fact, what that means is that I have the opportunity to practice the kind of radically-other-centered love that Jesus embodied by setting aside my irritation with it so that you are able to enter deeply into worship in your way.
May we all find that kind of generosity toward each other, because then we will be worshiping Jesus!
From Qaser Al Yahud:
From the Dead Sea: