After being back for awhile I thought I would post some non "jet-lag-induced" thoughts on the trip. It's an interesting phenomena that one tends to go through after a mountain top experience. There is this weird feeling of sadness, joy, relief, longing, and unexplained feelings all wrapped into one. I am so glad to be home and to see my family. (I think Mia doubled her vocabulary and now I'm trying to catch up...) But I also have an ache for the land that we were just in. It reminds me a lot of when I was younger and I would spend the night at a friends house. We would stay up late having a ball, laughing our heads off, doing things we didn't normally do, and having the time of our life. And when I had to go home the next day I always was a bit cranky, and really sad that my fun time was over. I wouldn't say I'm cranky but I am sad that our trip is over. I will probably never see most of the people on the trip again. (Until we meet at the East Gate.) So, we will wait until then. Good thing there's this newfangled thang called email and the internet...
In church Sunday morning we were singing the song "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" and during the chorus I had all of these images coming to my mind. "You came from heaven to earth", I could picture the Valley of the Shepherds, "From the cross to the grave" I could clearly see Golgatha and the Garden Tomb, "From the grave to the sky" The Mt. of Olives was burned into my mind.
I've been reading through the book of Hebrews for my devotions and never has chapter 10 been so clear. Those of you who were on the trip, read through it and remember all the emphasis put on being ceremonialy clean. All throughout the Bible there is verse after verse which talks about being, "clean","washed","pure","holy","sanctified", and so on. And until I saw for myself the hundreds of ritual baths at the temple, the mitkvah in Korazim, and all the other things the Israelites would do to be "ceremonially clean" I would have never had the experiential understanding of what it was Christ came to do.
Our youth group watched a video on Wednesday night that featured Louis Giglio at the Passion 05 conference. His main area of emphasis was that we who have trusted Christ are not "sinners" anymore. We're not "sinners saved by grace" (emphasis on "sinners.") We are "holy ones" who choose to sin. When God sees us, He sees us as holy because of Christ. There is no longer any reason to perform ceremonial cleansing rituals.
That is just one example of how this trip will impact my reading and teaching of the Bible.