We are attempting to put together a trip to Israel next year for the church family. of course there is a lot going on in the Middle East. Bombs, rockets, iron shields, anger, fear. In other words not much has changed since the time of our Lord and Savior. So, understandably people are a little hesitant to say “yes” to Rev. Jack’s call to see the Holy Land.

My first trip to see where our Savior was born, grew, preached died and rose for us was in 1978. My dad was able to go with me and we had a great time. I will always remember standing with him and my old New Testament professor looking across the valley towards Jerusalem. One of those snap shot moments that stays with you forever.

But…those were difficult times for Israel as well. Jets flying overhead, threats, signs in the hotel stating, “Report any suspicious looking materials to the hotel staff.” Yet, there was worship, singing, joining together in communion where our Savior walked. All the same things pilgrims have been doing for centuries no matter the conditions.

Of course being young and in Tel Aviv I wanted to look around to do some investigating of the city and the people before going home. Dad said he wanted to rest but to please be careful so off I went. Caught a bus to the downtown. I still remember those people every day. They asked where I was from. What I was doing in Israel? What did I think of their gorgeous country? One even asked if I was a rabbi coming home (had a very nice full and dark beard back then). A smiling little girl tentatively reached out took my hand and practiced her English by saying, “Welcome to our beautiful land.”

Then I got off and everyone said goodbye and hoped some day I would return to Israel! I walked away, the bus drove away and a little while later they all went away as the bus blew up.

I don’t understand politics. I really don’t understand war, terrorism, and racial hate. But I do know people and that we are all the same. We want a decent life, some time to enjoy our grand babies, to hold hands and worship in peace. Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. We need each other, we need peace and of course that won’t happen without a Savior. So, I guess what I am saying is we can’t let sin dictate who and what we are. Caring, loving, serving people must stand together for what is right no matter where they live or how far we are separated.

So maybe…just maybe I’ll see you in Jerusalem next year. Stay on the path even though some will try to block your way…