No, we aren’t going to wear funny hats and have dinner with native Americans. Well we might be wearing funny hats, but they will be Kippahs because we are going to Israel. That’s right, a fool is traveling to the Holy Land, where fools for Christ were first born.
My intellectual curiosity and love of etymology brought me to study the word pilgrimage. Like most words coming from Latin its basic meaning is foreigner: being a stranger in a far off land. My wife and I are nervous because this is the first time we are traveling far off. This will be the farthest I have ever been from home, having never travelled overseas. The old world to me is made up only of second hand knowledge. A world but for testimonials is fictitious and imaginative. I have an image in my mind but can not smell or taste the land like from a personal memory.
It is quite possible that Israel doesn’t exist!
I believe it exists, I am not a fool, well I am — but not an idiot. Actually, I should be labeled a fool for my surety that Israel exists. I am taking others at their word, and believing in it only because of physical evidence that could easily be faked. It is amazing how much of what we believe we are taking on faith, but consider it fact.
Soon. I will be there.
In less than 48 hours I will know. You may be reading this, and I will be there. The doubt for me will be over, but for you it will only be one more piece of evidence, easily faked, and one more testimonial easily discarded.
When Dwight Eisenhower saw the horrors of the holocaust he famously ordered pictures to be taken saying, ” Get it all on record now – get the films – get the witnesses – because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.” Somehow he knew that people would deny even its existence. Still, with all the pictures, films, and witnesses some say it never happened.
It’s shocking our lack of grasp on reality.
Similarly some say the events of the Bible didn’t happen. No matter what evidence backs up the biblical narrative some will never believe in it. They don’t want to. Soon I will find out that Israel does exist — I will listen to stories from the Bible that did happen, at the very places they happened.
I don’t know if your heart beats the same as mine, but I have always felt like a foreigner. I have lived my life feeling deep within that I did not belong. If we walk into the woods and look at our surroundings we would notice that everything flows, and fits perfectly together…everything but…us. We stand out in nature as something unnatural. We are creatures of a different sort than the animals that surround us. We have even come up with a word to describe things that we do capable of working outside of nature…unnatural. We must understand that we are different on some level to even acknowledge that we can break through the natural to the non.
I believe we are all on a journey in a strange land.
Heaven is our home. Our journey, however, is so long it is easy for us to get distracted. We forget that our time is brief, we forget that we are on a mission. See, what makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage is not a funny hat, and it’s not leaving to another country, it’s actually coming home. The mission is to come back home. I hope to enjoy my time in Israel, but I also hope to come home again. I hope to enjoy my time on earth, but I also hope to go home to heaven.