By Sarah Bowers
Leading up to my trip to the Holy Land, I was certain that seeing the sites that were important to Christ’s life and ministry would be, in some way, emotional and overwhelming to me. Expectations are a funny thing, because we are often proven wrong, which was true in my case. When I think about the part of the trip that was the most powerful to me, I reflect on worship in a small chapel at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City. This worship service in a small, cold, stone chapel was nothing out of the ordinary. It was much like our worship services every Sunday. But something was different. We had spent much of our time leading up to this moment, and would spend much of our time after, looking at the stones and rocks that remain and help paint the picture of the intense and rich history that this part of the world holds. But this worship service was different, this worship service was us standing shoulder to shoulder, worshiping with the living stones of this holy place. This was emotional and overwhelming. As we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord during this worship service, I was reminded of the great gift in baptism that brings us all together as the body of Christ. I wasn’t just a part of this congregation on this one Sunday, but we have always been and will always be connected. We are bound together by something more powerful than us. We are bound together by the waters of baptism that unite us in the gift of Christ. It was an incredible gift to worship with this congregation and to see how God is calling them to ministry in this beautiful and yet often confusing place. It was also an incredible gift to be reminded, in such a tangible way, that though we may be separated by thousands of miles, we are all united in Christ.