I have been travelling with a group from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on a trip to Israel and Palestine since November 11. The journey has taken us to meet Church partners, experience holy sites and view the everyday reality where we believe that Christ once walked.
After visiting the sites and crossing the checkpoints, we gather each night, to join together for a de-brief on the day and a devotion. At tonight’s devotion, we were asked to think of our experiences thus far, reflect on passages from an Israeli perspective, a Palestinian Christian perspective and one as ourselves on a pilgrimage. The definition given for a pilgrimage is a journey to a place that changes you.
Now our group has visited the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. We have worshiped with Palestinian Christians at Christmas Lutheran Church, a target during the last intifada. We have journeyed up the Mount of Olives and so much more. Upon reflecting on our pilgrimage, we recognized our pilgrimage experiences came from the people with whom we have met. Different meetings and different people have changed each of us on this trip in different ways. One thing is certain; the pilgrimage here in this place is one of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.