"On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!" (Psalm 87: 1-3)
Let me know if you agree, but I think that of all the glorious things said of Jerusalem, none is as powerful as "He loves the city of Jerusalem." Having visited the region a year ago, I wasn't sure what to expect. Of course, I was just as excited to go, perhaps even more so, but I wasn't exactly certain if the places that brought the Bible to life a year earlier would repeat their performance. (I'll come back to that.)
Tom sat among a dozen or so fellow travelers catching their breath and sipping water after climbing a steep hill. Then as our wise guide gave us instructions concerning our next destination - seeing that the group was breathing heavily and sweating - he jokingly remarked in beautiful, broken English that a trip to Jerusalem requires a 3-month physical preparation. Tom slowly raised his head, took a swig of his water, wiped his mouth with his shirt and replied, "I've been training for this trip my whole life." And with that sentence, he wrote this entry.
An avid runner, Tom is in great shape. He's hit dozens and dozens of marathons and was a top ten finalist in the biggest triathlon in the world. The guy is fit. But it was his fire-in-the-belly for the Biblical context for the land we were standing on that spoke volumes to everyone on the bus. He didn't want to miss a word from the guide about how this building or that monument connected us to Christ, and if the guide began speaking too soon or wasn't understandable, Tom would unashamedly let him know. I liked him right away.
Over the course of this week, it's my honor to share some of the places and testimonies that touched my heart and how I plan to apply them to my own life spiritually and physically. I hope you enjoy the week. As far as whether the places I visited repeated their performance, well, they brought the Bible to life a second time, not doubt, but just as miraculous, they brought me to life, perhaps for the first.
I have been to the city God loves. I have seen Jerusalem. I plan on reporting on what I saw and heard. Starting with Tom; catching his breath and ready for the next hill. After all, Tom is 80 years old. And he's been training for this trip his whole life.
- Jimmy Peña