"Come and see!" these are words attributed in the gospels to one of Jesus' first disciples, Phillip, as he encourages his friend Nathaniel to become a disciple – "Come and see!"
We all have occasions where we experience or enjoy something, and want to encourage others to do the same, don't we? Whether it's a new film we've seen at the cinema, or a play, or a book, or a gig, sometimes there occasions where we want others to share in our experience – "you must go and see this..." or "you must read this..." are often the words we use, because we've enjoyed it so much we want our friends and/or family to enjoy it too.
Sharing in an experience is much more powerful than simply being told about it second-hand. Especially when the experience is so profound, or the enjoyment is so intense, that it is hard to put into words.
Which is why I'm inviting everyone who wishes to – come with me on a 10 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Oct/Nov 2019. I struggle to adequately describe the experiences I have had in the Holy Land during the numerous I have been as a pilgrim and pilgrim leader myself. How can I describe the beauty of the Sea of Galilee, the experience of floating in the Dead Sea, the poignancy of sharing Holy Communion in the Garden of Gethsemene amidst 2000 yr old olive trees, the feeling of awe at the Ophel excavations or the Valley of Doves where you know you are literally walking in the footsteps of Christ?
How can I put into words the way that Scripture is brought to life when you visit the places you had only previously read about – Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Pools of Siloam, the Mount of Transfiguration, Bethany, Capernaum, Caesarea Phillipi (to name but a few)
St Jerome called it the "fifth Gospel" – as the land itself adds a layer of understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures.
So I simply extend the invitation – "come and see!" – it is an experience you will treasure for a lifetime.