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Pilgrim Reflections | Trip to Israel
By Connie Chan
Jul 18, 2019
As Wycliffe College organizes another trip to Israel, to take place in February 2020, let's recall some of the unforgettable experiences for all the students and friends of Wycliffe who joined the trip last year. They gained historical and biblical insights, met new friends, and ate lots of good food! In this article, Wycliffe student Connie Chan shares about a memorable moment during her trip. If you’d like to join the upcoming trip, visit https://www.wycliffecollege.ca/israel2020
I had seen photos of it. I had heard news about it. But nothing quite equates to actually setting foot on the land of Israel.
Visiting Israel allowed me to engage the biblical world not only with my intellect, but with my whole person. There’s nothing quite comparable to walking through the underground tunnel that King Hezekiah created, stepping on the staircase where the apostle Peter likely stood when he preached to thousands on the day of Pentecost, tracing the footsteps of Jesus across Israel/Palestine: from where he was born, where he grew up, to where he started his ministry.
Among the places we visited, my favourite was Jerusalem, the city where Jesus spent his last days. It is where he wept, ate his last supper, faced his accusers, carried the cross, and was crucified.
On our free day in Jerusalem, I visited the Western Wall where I spent some time in prayer and reflection. The trip proved to be both an enriching and confounding experience. I was fascinated by the layers of history illuminated by the ancient sites we visited, the coexistence of diverse ethnic and religious groups, and the complexity of current political situations. I sat down and sketched, observing women who prayed earnestly: some with their hands on the wall, some on their faces, some with hair down, others with heads covered. Countless pieces of paper with written prayers and wishes filled the cracks of the wall. Over the heads of the pilgrims, birds found shelter in the holes of the wall, oblivious to religious conflict, historical complexity, and the joys and sorrows in the hearts crying out to God.
Then I remembered: the same God who provides for the birds, also rules over impossible situations. And Jerusalem, where Jesus spent his last days, was also where he was raised to life. Through faith in Jesus, we have hope.
There’s still much to ponder. I want to give thanks to all the wonderful people with whom I shared this unforgettable experience!
This reflection was written for Wycliffe College's Insight Magazine, Spring/Summer 2018 edition.