Seen it all

I tend to think that I’ve seen it all after almost four decades of learning, research, and guiding in the lands of the Bible. Often, folks will ask if I get bored with the “same old.” And then, every trip reminds me again of how wonderfully new each experience is. Ongoing archaeological surveys and analysis present new opportunities constantly. And the past decade of reconstruction gives new meaning to even the most familiar of stops. But more than this, it is the people who join me on these excursions and our encounters with the peoples of this land that furnish the most wondrous of surprises. Boredom is hardly possible.

A recent reminder of this came with our July group just completed. Who could have imagined that after at least thirty boat rides with groups on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), this time crew and travelers would join together on board in dance to the strains of Hava Nagila (“Come On, Let’s Party!”). And party we did! We docked in Tiberius exhausted and exhilarated. And then there was Mary, a public school Latin teacher and student of Greek and Hebrew. Having taught the Bible seriously to students of all ages for years, Mary said she felt that she’d just begun to learn the biblical lessons of history and faith now seen through the lens of the eastern Mediterranean world. Mary, your enthusiasm for this tour encouraged me greatly that none of us has “seen it all.” I suppose that is the theme of this final summer trip 2008: Whoever you are, whatever your circumstance or experience, God has something new and deeper for you here in His land. Please consider joining me soon.

Before signing off, a quick thanks to all of those who made this trip sing: Martin and Dianna, Jay and Susan, Trevor and Kate, and of course, my faithful friend and colleague of many years, Adel. You guys are second only to those dearest to me who love me unconditionally while I’m away in my “other life.” Karen, Lydia and Zach, I love you too!

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