If Easter were all about the new clothes, then my family is basically toast. Thanks no less to the lovely person who stole the Amazon package off our front porch on Saturday.
Something tells me they may have been disappointed to open a box with a pair of size 6 Sperry’s intended for 10 year old feet. (I hope they were ticked.)
My initial reaction was to hunt down this person and exact revenge on the fool, because how dare they? But then I realized that losing my cool and posting about it on Facebook wouldn’t be the most gracious thing I ever did, so I restrained myself.
That was a fantastic decision and all, but it did nothing for the fact that Luke paired his Easter clothes with the rattiest sneakers he owns. So before you admire my self-control regarding the front porch thieves, let me point out my shallowness.
Because I apparently continue to place an improper value on appearances. A fact that Luke didn’t hesitate to call out as we walked into church on Sunday morning.
Me: Those shoes are awful. I mean seriously. You couldn’t find one single pair that didn’t have holes?
Luke: Mom, I don’t think Jesus was worried about his shoes when he died on the cross.
And that’s what it looks like to be Jesus-juked by your 10 year old.
At the risk of switching gears too quickly here, I have to mention my recent trip to Israel. When I say mention, I really mean that I have so much to say about it, but I’m not quite sure how to put it all into words yet.
Mostly because I was sort of ruined by the whole experience. I’ve been home for an entire week now, and my mind is still trying to sort and process All The Things.
This trip was so much more than a tour of the holy sites. It was a 2-week course we took through Jerusalem University College, which included 40-ish hours of pre-work with maps and (mostly) Old Testament reading. We spent 14 days in the land of Israel, where we visited specific sites we had previously studied and mapped out. At each site we opened up our Bibles to read about the real-life biblical events that had taken place right under our feet.
(Incidentally, let me introduce you to our instructor, Dr. Cyndi Parker, who is legitimately a Bible rockstar. You can find her here: http://www.narrativeofplace.com.)
I don’t even know where to start with showing you pictures (mostly because I’m dying to tell the stories that go with the pics), but here’s a few to help you conceptualize at the very least:
This is Cave #4 where Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
The pic below is of the Elah Valley, where the epic battle between David and Goliath was fought (I Samuel 17).
The next pic is of the southern gate of an ancient Israelite city called Gezer, which is the first positively identified Biblical city, and it’s associated with Solomon.
Archaeologists found a row of ten large stones at Gezer (see below), next to an altar type structure. The exact purpose of this structure is a debated topic, but many scholars believe this is a Canaanite “high place” from the Middle Bronze Age. (Middle Bronze Age is the time of the Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob).
Here are a few references to “high places”: 1 Kings 11:7; 13:32; 2 Kings 16:4; 17:9-10; 17:29; 23:5
The next shot is taken as we stood on the Mount of Olives and overlooked Jerusalem. Crack open your Bible to Luke 19:28-44 as you take in the picture below, and you’ve basically got the same view Jesus had when he descended from this Mount into Jerusalem during his triumphal entry. The Mount of Olives is also a spot where Jesus taught his disciples (Matthew 24-25), and it’s also known as the place described by Luke where Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:6-11).
And this pic below is the image you should have in your head anytime the wilderness is mentioned in the Bible. For instance, David kept sheep in the wilderness. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.
I mean, this place is not for the faint of heart.
To paraphrase Paul Wright (President, JUC), this trip wasn’t about making the Bible come to life, because the Bible is already alive. Instead, this course was our invitation to come alive to the Bible.
And without trying to sound all philosophically deep or anything, it occurred to me in a not-so-comfortable way that “coming alive to the Bible” will inevitably result in a change within me. Which is exactly why I’m still trying to reconcile what I learned in Israel to my life in Texas.
Because it’s never been more clear to me that the more I know about the Bible, the more I know that I don’t know the half of it. And y’all. I’ve never been more convinced that those Bible stories we pass off as “good moral lessons” are way more than that. Because they HAPPENED.
The story — God’s story, no less — is weaved together in such a perfect way that every detail is significant.
The parables Jesus told included details that echoed back to the Old Testament — and resonated with declarations that He was exactly the Messiah the Jews had been looking for since Genesis.
The locations, the cities, the events, the produce of the land, the water sources, the battles won and lost, the people — every single bit of it is real life history. While human beings may disagree on the interpretation of various data, no one can argue that the data exists.
And it’s in that light that I’m determined (by the grace of God) to spend my life telling the story. Because it’s a good one.
I’ll come back with more as soon as I can gather my thoughts.
p.s. in case you’re curious about Luke’s shoes, I wasn’t exaggerating. (Also, he loves to smile for pictures.)
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