Hope Community Church Visits the Holy Land
3rd May 2019
From the 7-19 April 2019 members of the Hope Community Church in High Wycombe had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land in Israel and
This was not merely a trip to the Holy Land, but indeed a pilgrimage. It was indeed a spiritual experience where the Bible was brought to life by having seen where it all took place. Visiting the biblical cities and sites were very humbling. To have followed the steps of our Saviour when He dwelt on earth was an experience which is hard to put into words. This humbling experience made us as pilgrims to the Holy Land, recommit our lives to our Lord and Saviour and renewing our saving relationship with Christ.
Every site and city we visited was a highlight. Some of the elders who were on the pilgrimage had the privilege of delivering sermons on the Sea of Galilee (the shores of the Sea of Galilee could be considered as Jesus' pulpit), and on the site of the Garden Tomb. We had a very special Communion Service at the Garden Tomb and many touching testimonies were heard regarding what the pilgrimage meant to the members of our group. Emotions ran high as tears of joy were shed freely with the realisation that we were so privileged to have had the humbling experience of having Communion next to the most probable place where Jesus was buried.
We visited, Jaffa on the Mediterranean Sea (famous for the biblical stories of Solomon, Jonah and Peter), Caesarea in the Sharon Plain (on the Mediterranean coast), Mount Carmel, Akko (an important Roman and Crusader port), the Bahai Gardens in Haifa (where we saw an Adventist church near the gardens), Mount Carmel, Capernaum (the centre of Jesus' ministry), the Mount of the Beatitudes, Mount Tabgha (where the feeding of the 5000 took place), the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Cana (where Jesus performed the first miracle), Mount Tabor, the traditional scene of The Transfiguration, as well as the Golan Heights. Other sites that we visited were Beit Shan, Qashr El Yahud (the original baptism place in the River Jordan), and the Mount of Temptation, Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered). We also had a floating experience in the Dead Sea. We visited the Mount of Olives, the Western Wall in Jerusalem as well as the Temple Mount. Following in the steps of Christ along the Via Dolorosa was indeed a spiritual experience.
One of the sites we visited, which does not have any biblical significance, but was a great experience, was Masada. It is an ancient fortification situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. The walk, done by most of us on the Snake Path to the summit of Masada, a rise of about 400m, was indeed a torturous one. At times some of us wanted to give up on the ascend, but a lady who has cerebral palsy showed so much grit and determination to reach the summit, inspiring all of us to keep pressing onwards and upwards to reach the summit. This physical experience was likened unto the Christian experience, where one sometimes wants to give up when the burdens of life become overwhelming ‒ just to be encouraged by a fellow saint to persevere as this earthly suffering is soon going to end at our Saviour's return.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our first elder, Len Williams, for taking the time and effort to organise this memorable pilgrimage for all of us.
[Jerome H Langenhoven]