I had no idea what a pilgrimage looked like. I’d never been on one before, unless you count my pilgrimage a couple years ago to Mood – the mother of all hip fabric stores- the one made famous by the television show, Project Runway, in New York City. But a HOLY pilgrimage? A pilgrimage to the streets where Jesus walked? Would I find God in what I touched and tasted and smelled and heard and saw? What would it feel like? Would it change me? How?

We returned home Friday, and I’m still trying to figure that out. Since I process things by writing about them, (which is to say even the most important memories of mine fly out of my brain and disintegrate into the dirt if I don’t write about them) I thought I’d take the next few weeks to reflect on what I encountered during my 12 days away. I plan to blog whenever I feel like it, on both little nothings and heftier subjects that moved me. I’m doing it mostly for me, but you might enjoy it too. I hope you do.

So just to introduce the series of posts, I want to show you a list of things that are part of what it means to be on pilgrimage, .

It means you meet crazy Dr. Seuss creatures like this hyrax here, who greet you as you take a morning walk by the Sea of Galilee.

My extensive research (Wikipedia) tells me that hyraxes (hyraxi?) spend 95% of their life resting, which is interesting. We didn’t sit around on rocks much during the two weeks, but I believe in the saying, “A change is as good as a rest.” If you take that into consideration, yes, we definitely rested. We followed Jesus all over Israel. We walked miles and miles. But my spirit is rejuvenated! RE-ENERGIZED!
To be on pilgrimage also means that you get in the boat with your fellow pilgrims. And that you will be surprised how quickly you fall in love with them all!

And you eat delicious, interesting things together. (Aw, no sheckles in the fish’s mouth. Too bad.)

Being on pilgrimage in the Holy Land means that you see lots of sites where Jesus might have been, and you see lots of sites where we can be certain he was, like among these over 2000 year old trees on the Garden of Gethsemane.

Being on pilgrimage means that you’ll join the throngs of thousands retracing holy footsteps, that you’ll hear prayers in all languages, that you’ll witness the influence of Christ across the whole wide world, and that its beauty will take your breath away!

Being on pilgrimage means that if you watch and listen carefully, if you draw near to God, God will draw near to you.

I look forward to sharing more over the coming days!