Israel Study Tour with Calvin Theological Seminary

January 3-15, 2016

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At the foot of the cross

I woke up this morning and wondered how I would spend my last day in the Holy Land. Our professors gave us the freedom to explore whatever we wanted. Yet even as I was dropped off in the Old City of Jerusalem, I still didn't know what I wanted to see.

This week has been a beautiful combination of deep reflection and profound illumination. I've seen the face of Christ on the quiet waters in the Sea of Galilee; I've pondered the temptation of Christ as I gazed upon the wilderness he wandered. Following in his footsteps has been deep and profound. Therefore, I knew the last day would be the capstone to my trip in the land, but what would that day include?

I began wandering through the old city and approached the Western Wall where the temple once stood. The Jews who were there praying moved me to prayer. As I prayed there, however, I felt uneasy, as though I didn't belong.

After a short time I got up and began to wander again. As I headed west across the old city, making what felt like random twists and turns through the streets, I once again came to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Only two days ago we spend a little over an hour there. I walked around the church looking for a place to pray and to reflect on what God might be saying to me in these last hours. Strangely and somberly I walked back to the place of the crucifixion. I felt it deep in my soul: this is where I belong.

There I was, the same place I was two days ago, and have been countless times before: at the foot of the cross. Laying before the cross, I was reminded of all the pain and struggles I've laid laid before it throughout the years. I was reminded that the cross is where my journey with Jesus began so many years ago and where this journey in the Holy Land was to end. As I stood once again, having been washed in the blood of Christ, I knew that this was certainly not my last time I would lay my struggles at the foot of the cross. Frequenting the cross is the epitome of following Christ, no matter where his followers sojourn.

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