The curate of St John’s, Locks Heath, on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land
I’ve just had the enormous privilege of travelling to Israel and Palestine to see some of the places where Jesus lived 2,000 years ago.
I went with a group of Church of England clergy from this area.
The idea was to help us to see some of the places where Jesus was born, performed miracles, taught people, died and was buried.
When we tell people about Jesus, it will help us to know what these places looked like.
So I went there, expecting that seeing Nazareth, Galilee, Jerusalem and Bethlehem would have a real emotional impact on me.
I expected it to make a difference to see where Jesus was born or where he died.
And it was actually incredible to see some of those places for myself. But what affected me even more than the places I’ve visited is the people I’ve met.
I was reflecting in Bethlehem that the people I’d travelled with actually embodied Jesus, just as much as the holy sites I saw.
They all had their distinctive traits, but were all kind, generous, and committed to following Jesus.
The same point struck me when we worshipped at St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem on the Sunday morning.
The priest preached both in Arabic and English, and each time the congregation participated, everyone spoke or sang in different languages simultaneously.
It cemented the idea that Christians are part of a worldwide family who all worship Jesus.
The priest talked about the fact that he was from Nazareth, like Jesus. His wife was from Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine. It struck me that these were people living in these places we read about in the Bible.
What I’ve brought home with me to Locks Heath is the idea that people always matter much more than places.
God came to Earth in the person of Jesus, and relationships mattered to him. I want to continue to find the imprint of God in other people, wherever I can. And I want to continue to make those connections with the Christian communities around the world. Come and find out if I’m doing so!
St John’s Church is in Church Road, Locks Heath. Call 01489 578082 or call stjohnslocksheath.org.uk.