Bethany McNeeley reflects on her pilgrimage experiences, a trip facilitated by the St John’s College Opportunity Fund.
One morning I sat outside overlooking the Sea of Galilee and imagined Jesus walking on water. I started to think about Peter and those moments he had with Jesus. I wondered if he ever went back to those spots later in his life to reminisce or reconnect with those moments he had with Jesus before his death, resurrection and ascension. As I sat pondering this, I heard the Spirit say,
‘I am not a memory that fades – I am with you wherever you are,
wherever you go, whatever you do.’
Over the next week, as we journeyed through the Holy Land this moment and those words stayed with me. I was reminded of the importance of not living in the past, but to let go and move forward in faith. Looking back in order to move forward in hope. Being a disciple of Christ requires faith, trust and obedience with each step that is taken. Each step requires a ‘mustard seed’ of faith into the uncertain, unknown land. But, just as Jesus did not abandon Peter on the Sea of Galilee, he will not abandon us on our journey.
My pilgrimage provided me with an opportunity to learn not only about the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and 1st Century life. This trip provided me with the opportunity so see what is going on in this world. The everyday life of those living in Israel-Palestine. I have gained knowledge and context in the religious and political tensions. I gained a mixture of personal insight and reflection along with lessons in conflict, peace and reconciliation. What I have gained will not only stay with me in my studies in Cranmer Hall, but also will be used in my future ministry.