I upset one of the Holy Fathers today...
Some of the deepest feelings I have ever felt in my life in my relationship with God today. As we were walking into the entrance of the Wailing Wall on the west side of the Temple Mount today, there was a sign that read, "The presence of God remains here".
I turned to a few in our group and said somewhat prophetically, "Guys, there is no dilution of the Spirit. When we leave this place the Spirit of God will be as strong with us as He is at this wall."
By making that statement I wasn't trying to be disrespectful to a movement. To be honest, over this past week I have grown to respect some of the traditions and cultural nuances of the Jewish people. However, it is the thought of watching thousands of people who might be in worthless religious practice that upset me so much.
I was moved by this moment. Standing at the site where so many people have prayed. A myriad of cultures, faith backgrounds, ages, and races praying to God. My prayer was for an American revival that would turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers so that our families would transform our nation one neighborhood at a time. (Malachi 4)
Another highlight of the day was walking through the Garden of Gethsemane. I get it that some of these places I have seen over the past week may not have been in exactly the location we think. And years of sediment displacement and erosion have covered up some of the sites we have witnessed. But, this is one that is extremely accurate. And, to tell you the truth, most of these moments I have had this week are so symbolically stamped into my mind through scripture and spiritual formation, that just seeing the images or an approximate location of a story or an event is enough to heighten my senses.
The first picture is of me outside the Garden where Jesus prayed before His last few hours of life. The second picture is me in the Garden. I have never sensed such great emotion in my prayers that moment. My mind was playing through Mark 14 as Jesus was praying for the strength to complete His task.T
To end my blog today, let me take you to another scene. Myself and another young man from our tour were walking toward the hill of Golgotha where Christ was crucified. A building stands over the location now, but, there is a great sense of what was beneath our feet at that moment. So, we are taking pictures outside the area and my friend walks toward the area and lifts his camera to shoot one inside the shrine. All of a sudden the Father who is positioned right inside the entrance rushed toward him and puts his hands up and yells, "What are you doing? No camera, you stupids!"
I seriously almost laughed. Now, I understand why he was so upset. But, there were no signs here and our guide gave us no restrictions at this point (our guide would often tell us what to do and what not to do). So, being the leader that I am, I just looked at the Father and told him to relax. We didn't know. Sorry. But, you could be a little nicer. As we walked away he was stunned. Then my friend simply told him and another Father who came up, "Could you put up a sign?"
You had to be there to get that moment. Tomorrow we are at the tomb and closing sites for the tour. More to come...