Walking on Holy Ground

A Men of Integrity article I wrote last year:

A couple months ago I was standing in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb. It was the last stop after a week of touring the Holy Land. My group spent most of its time seeing the sites of Jesus’ ministry in northern Israel, with the Dead Sea, Qumran, and Masada thrown in.

Along the way, we befriended fellow pilgrims like the men of a Congolese church in Dublin we met in Galilee. When they found out we were also “born again,” they gave us bear hugs, shouting “brother!” and “sister!” At Cana we met a Japanese woman with a church from Canada. She wept when she heard we were praying for Japan, hit by an earthquake and tsunami. We were all pilgrims traveling together on the road to holy sites.

The word pilgrim feels funny on Protestant lips. It makes me think of Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca, or Catholics visiting shrines to venerate relics, or John Bunyan’s allegory. What does pilgrimage mean for a modern day Protestant? The concept of “thin places” is a helpful starting point.