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Father Rob's Blog - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 01:06

Israel 094

When a smartphone can grant congregants instant access to an almost infinite array of data—biblical or otherwise—preaching must be more than the mere communication of orthodox information. It’s about creating an imaginative space in and through which we engage the biblical narrative, thus allowing the story of God to find a home in the deep recesses of our hearts and minds.  --Kutter Callaway

Though these sentences were written  in relation to the movie Noah, I was struck by how well they also apply to my experience of being in Israel.   Being there wasn't so much a matter of gaining additional information--one surely doesn't have to spend the money and take the time to go to Israel to do that.  What  it was about was experiencing the heart of the people and the land, and through them understanding something more of the heart of Jesus.

And so we made it a priority to pray though the various sites; to intentionally and consciously enter in to what  they seek to highlight.  Take this church, for instance.  It's called Dominus Flevit, erected on the spot where Jesus looked out over Jerusalem, foresaw its coming destruction, and wept.  It is shaped like  a tear drop.   In the picture below, you can see the view Jesus would have had of  Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Kneeling inside, I thought of Jesus, his heart so tender that he wept openly.  It's interesting how frequently men cry in  the Bible, especially when you consider how infrequently men cry today.  I thought of how in so many ways I've walled off my heart so that I will not cry because I've trained myself not to care as deeply as I might.  I think that's alot of what it means to be tough instead of tender--and being tough is at the very heart of what it means for so many of us to be a man.

And so I prayed.  "Lord, you wept for the people around you.  Your heart went out to them in their pain and distress.   Help me to do a better job of caring about others, of letting them into my heart so that I too love deeply enough to be moved to tears."  Suddenly the years began to drop away. I wasn't just a tourist seeing sites, but a pilgrim joining milleniums of pilgrims,  together journeying  ever deeper into what it means to live faithfully in the best and fullest sense of the word.

Israel 043

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