Wow! In March, Beth Shalom sponsored a pilgrimage for pastors, intercessors, worship leaders and those who felt called to Israel. The trip was a huge success with each person experiencing a personal touch from the Lord.
Before we left, as Katharine and I prayed with our co-host Rosemary Schindler (Schindler's Ark), we felt that the theme of the trip was "the wedding", a scriptural picture of God's desire for intimacy with each of us. As the participant list formed, we noticed that it included a Russian pastor and his new bride, another couple whose wedding we had celebrated the year before and of course, Katharine and I, our main ministry being marriage and family counseling. God came through! Intimacy was available for all, and as a token, we were among the first to set foot on the new excavation of the wedding site of Yeshua's first miracle in Cana. (John 2)
Each site on the tour included meaningful encounters with the ancient history and the living present reality of the God of Israel. The mikveh (baptism) in the Jordan, the Mount of Beatitudes, the Kotel (wailing wall), the Tabernacle at Shiloh, the boat ride on the Kinneret (Galilee), and the ancient synagogue at Masada all provided settings for deep and rich moments with our Messiah. What an outstanding blessing!
Our contacts with the "living stones" of today were varied and precious. A personal meeting with the Knesset minister Rabbi Binyamin Elon gave us an insight into the trials and hopes of the Jewish people. David Rubin, former mayor, guided us through Shiloh. This tied together our understanding of Jewish Biblical, historical roots in the land to the commitment of the present day community to live in peace in the heart of Israel. Tom Hess, Lars Enarson, Eve Harrow and Arni Klein inspired us. Our visit to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) humbled us. So did Shaare Zedek, the modern hospital where victims of terror and their attackers are equally treated to the best modern medicine available.
The Mount Carmel Assembly, where Jews and Arabs worship together, gave us a foretaste of heaven.
God "rolled out the red carpet" for us...we are very grateful and look forward to more trips like this in the future.