Holy Land visit powerful for couple PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Friday, 28 March 2014 10:24
Rick and Jackie Metz on top of Masada with the Dead Sea in the background. The Masada Desert Fortress, next to Jerusalem, is the most popular destination of tourists visiting Israel. The fortress was built by Herod the Great as a refuge for himself. (Photo provided by Rick and Jackie Metz)
For one Bowling Green couple, their recent 10-day visit to the Holy Land was a life-changing experience.
Rick and Jackie Metz journeyed to the birthplace of Christianity on the trip with a focus on the biblical "Promised Land."
They heard of the trip through their church, Dayspring, on North Dixie Highway.
"It was on our bucket list," Jackie Metz said. "It is the most exciting place to visit on Earth."
She justified her characterization by listing numerous reasons, supplemented by her husband's thoughts, for her belief including that it was the area which featured "the birthplace of God (Jesus); beginning of civilization; historic sites; the multi-cultural aspects; and the dichotomy of having very modern touring capabilities while still preserving the sites to be much as they would have appeared to Jesus and his disciples.
"I've been to Europe before and seen antiquity. But I never expected the extent of antiquity I saw there. This was much older and it was exhilarating and awesome to know there were still things available to see from Christ's time."
Her husband agreed, "Many areas are still as they were - like the Sea of Galilee. It's all natural and there are still things much as it was when Jesus walked the Earth."
They noted how the area serves as a place for the intersection of three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Thus sharing the historic significance as he called the area "so crucial to civilization."
One special site for the couple was their journey into the dungeon where it is believed Jesus was placed before he was crucified. Though stairs have now been constructed to allow tourists to enter, the hole from which Jesus would have been lowered still remains.
"We all spontaneously started to sing church hymns," Rick Metz said of their tour group in the dungeon. "It was powerful."
Rick Metz, as a builder by trade, was especially interested in the architectural marvel of some of the construction from that long ago, yet also fascinated with the natural connections from Jesus' day.
He especially noted the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, noting how even though most of the olive trees had been cut down, the trees grew back and thus could have been the descendants of the very same trees which were there during Jesus' time. He called the garden "very special."
Rick Metz said he went on the trip to primarily answer two questions about Jesus and his life and times. The first question was "Why did he come then?" and also, "Why did he come there?"
He said he was pleased he was able to answer both questions in his mind.
As to the why then question, he discovered that it was a "special time" in history primarily due to the Greek language being a common language at the time thus providing a great opportunity for the news of Jesus to be shared to a greater percentage of the population through that one common language.
As to his second question, he said he really internalized how important that area was to commerce and travel at that time in history. The convergence of three continents (The Rift Valley), Europe, Asia and Africa, made that area of the world vital in travel.
"In 2014, we have air travel, but at that time that was the path between those continents," Rick Metz said. "It was also a major sea route."
The couple shared various stories of each of the historic sites in the Holy Land, with such phrases as "pretty moving" and calling Jerusalem, "the most exciting city on Earth."
They were also struck by the amazing acoustics at both the natural areas such as where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount and the constructed sites like a colosseum, noting how even a whisper could be heard far beyond what one could imagine.
Jackie Metz summarized her trip saying, "It made me feel closer to Christ and it made the Bible come alive for me. I'll never read it the same way again."
Editor's note: The couple spoke about their journey last week on their radio show, "A Firm Foundation." Those interested can go to the following link and listen to the podcast, or download the podcast for later listening at www.talkradio1470.com/common/page.php?pt=Podcasts&id=222
They will also be doing a "Travelogue to the Holy Land" at the Wood County Committee on Aging at 6 p.m. May 13. Dinner reservations can be made by 2 p.m. for the evening meal at 5:30 p.m. on that date by calling the Senior Center at 419-353-5661.

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