Published : Thursday, August 31, 2017 | 1:01 PM
The Maranatha community is returning to Israel, this time during the summer, from June 3-13, 2018.
To say that a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a life-changing experience sort of undersells it. There have been times on our trips when the sense of history and the presence of the Spirit of God has been almost overwhelming. Five o’clock in the afternoon on the rooftop of a 200-year-old Arab mansion that you are calling home for a few days, in the heart of Nazareth, as both the church bells and the Muslim call to prayer sound all over the city, is one of those times. Climbing the Roman ramp to the top of Masada in the cool morning to see the expanse of the Judean desert with the Dead Sea in the distance may be another. Or how about sailing in a boat to the middle of the Sea of Galilee, having the boatmen turn off the engine and play the worship song “Oceans” over the PA system.
I could go on about being baptized or seeing young people be baptized in the Jordan River, and reaching the top of the Temple Mount; that platform that Herod built to house his massive temple, and realizing, just below you lie the ruins of Solomon’s temple. Walking down the Mount of Olives past Gethsemane through the very gate into the old city that Jesus walked through that last time, on his way to the cross.
But the trip is so much more than that. Israel is a vital and bustling country, filled with the sights and sounds of people who live, fight and die for a land that they love so much. We meet them as well, spending the morning with Arab high school students in a Southern Baptist High School in Nazareth, and the afternoon with Israeli Explorer scouts. We see the struggle of that land when we visit the decommissioned army bunker on Mount Bentaal that allows you to look into Syria on one side and Lebanon on the other, with Mount Hermon towering over you.
We will be having two information meetings concerning the trip to Israel for the 2018 summer after each Back to School Night in the Commons during the week of August 28. This trip is for students and parents alike, so you can make it a family experience as well. Come join us at our meetings this week as we start the process of another pilgrimage to Israel.
Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.