God Bless the Human Race
Weekly Word

In March, I will be taking 30 TLC Pilgrims to Israel. This year will be the 25th anniversary of my first trip in 1995. Israel was never on my list of places to go. Four of our “more senior” female church members took me for a walk in 1994 and said, “we want you to take us to Israel.” That walk changed not just my life, but the life of our congregation. What followed has been 25 years of amazing TLC trips, great inspiration, renewed and deepened relationships.

In 2022, Felicia and I will be leading our last trip to Israel. The details of that pilgrimage are still coming together. The pilgrimage will explore the roots of our faith as we visit Israel and Istanbul.

Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”

My first trip outside of North America was that 1995 pilgrimage to Israel when I was 35 years old. It ignited a passion for travel, for history and culture. It gave me a deeper appreciation for my homeland, but in addition, it helped me to understand that all people in all lands are pretty much the same. They just want to love and provide for their families. They get up each morning as we do, they carry many of the same burdens and fears. They cry when they are hurt, they bleed when they are cut, and they will die as we will die. People everywhere are just people. But more than that, they are the children of God.

If we look closely at the face of an immigrant or a refugee, we will see the image of our parents or grandparents who came to a land of opportunity. If we look closely, we may even see Jesus, in those who have never really met Jesus.

When we travel, we have no choice but to rely on the hospitality of others. In the Bible, hospitality was right up there with peace and justice. Hospitality; caring for friends, neighbors and strangers is part of what makes the human race a family.

May God bless the human race.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Jim