Today I flew into the Tel Aviv airport. From there we drove to Jerusalem. As of this point, I've crossed 8 time zones, flown on 4 airplanes, on 2 continents, with 1 hour of sleep, in the past 48 hours. I am now thoroughly exhausted.
As our bus climbed Mt Scopus (the northern part of the Mount of Olives), I caught a glimpse among the trees and rocks of the gold top of the Dome of the Rock. It took my breath away completely. I don't think it hit me that I was really going to Jerusalem until I saw that dome glinting in the sun. When we got to the top of the hill we had an unobstructed view of the valley and the Temple Mount. I'll admit I got emotional then, and have several times since, as I have looked from my bedroom window over the Old City of Jerusalem.
This semester, I will have the chance to see the places where prophets prophesied, performed miracles, and talked with God. I will be able to retrace the footsteps of my Savior, to walk where Jesus walked. But as I sat writing on today's trans-Atlantic flight, I realized that I have an opportunity this semester that will be even greater--the opportunity to learn to walk as Jesus walked, not just where He walked. I have a number of goals that will help me succeed in this quest, for I am here to worship, not to buy souvenirs. This is a pilgrimage, and I come, not as a tourist, but as a disciple, to gain greater knowledge and the strength to use it wisely.
Photo from http://www.atlastours.net/holyland/