Back from Israel. What a great trip. Here's a picture of our group. It's just prior to watching a nifty 3D film at a site near the southern steps in Jerusalem.
So, what was it like in Israel? Well, it wasn't scary but at times it way sobering. Israel is surrounded by enemies. We looked across the border into Lebanon and Syria. We trekked into Bethlehem, passports in hand, because we were leaving Israel.
The middle east is a volatile place. There are deep seated wounds and hatreds. These wounds and hatreds are hundreds and thousands of years old. They're part of the psyche of nations and individuals. That's scary. There seems to be little room for biblical concepts such as repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. That's sad. It also dooms the region, I think. It's not whether or not war will break out over there sometime ...it's more a matter of when.
We loved Israel. For Anita and myself it was a return visit. For everyone else ...it was a first time look at the Holy Land. It touched people in very deep ways. For that, we're thankful.
Our guide, Shmulik, was very knowledeable and funny. His knowledge of history and the Bible blew me away. Because of his clarity of thought and careful usage of words more and more of the Scripture became clearer to me. Opening God's word in the land of the Bible is an unbelievable experience.
Still a lot to think about ...much to process ...more to come. If you'd like check out the pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/MikeandAnitaMinistry/Israel2009#