After visiting Tel Aviv, I went to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and a few other places for a few days with my group, The David Project. It’s been crazy cool to see such a vast variety of sights that bring us to different places in time, with different cultures and beliefs. The things I’ve learned and the way I’ve grown has been extremely enriching, and I just want to give God all the glory for this experience!
One of the places we got to visit was the Holy Church of Sepulcher, which according to Catholic Tradition, was built on top of the land where Jesus was crucified. I had taken some time the previous day to reread scripture from Matthew about Jesus’ crucifixion to spiritually prepare for our visit to the church. I wanted to take it all in and really meditate on the fact that my Savior died on the very land I stood on.
The tears started before we even arrived to the site. Just being in the old city, where the church is found, gave me a surreal feeling of where Jesus had been and had lived. Upon arrival it was clear that the church was busier than normal. It felt like hundreds of people were cycling in and out, with no shortage of tourists and flashing cameras.
Despite the chaos of the church feeling a bit like a tourist destination, I really tried to meditate on what Christ did for me while I explored the church. It was incredibly powerful, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t break out in tears a few times.
As I later reflected on my experience at the church, I thought a lot about how magnificent the architecture of it all was. To some, the details on the ceilings and walls, the paintings, and the displays of Jesus and Mary are all quite remarkable. And they are, but as I thought more about how God sent His son to die for our shortcomings, it revealed so much more to me about His character. I started to think about the people circling in and out of the church, the ones who might have viewed the church as another check off the bucket list and photo to share on Facebook. God cares so deeply about each and every one of them, and wants so much more than just a visit to what one might consider a Holy Place. He wants their hearts. He wants them to place their trust in His hands, whether they visit the Holy Land or never leave their home church.
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” – Deuteronomy 4:29
While I’m tempted to feel disheartened by how many people don’t know the gravity of what Christ did for them, I’m comforted by how He never stops pursing each soul. His sovereign, persistent character remains, and I’m resting in that for the rest of my days.
In order to be really present, I chose not to take pictures while in the church, but here are some other photos from my time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and other various areas around Israel. This first one was taken with a view of Jerusalem’s skyline.
This is a dinner we shared together not far from the West Bank. So. Much. Pita.
Greetings from the Western Wall!
These next photos was taken in Bethlehem. The first one is from the Church of Nativity where according to Catholic Tradition, Jesus was born.
On our first day in Jerusalem, we went to a market for some shopping. I loved seeing all kinds of foods, spices and teas to buy! Hashtag cultured.
This last one was taken of my friend Aleigha and I at the Mount of Beatitudes! Can we just talk about a beautiful view, and an impactful experience?!
I’ve got one more blog post from this series! Remember to share your visit to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other places in Israel with me on social media using the hashtag #trendymeetsIsrael! I’d love to see your pictures, or hear why you’d like to visit the Holy Land! Until next time, stay trendy!