Updated: Mar 25, 2020
I just returned home from a week and a half long pilgrimage to the Holy Land and, of course, as is usually the case, I didn’t really depart with a mind that was open to whatever may come. I developed all of these expectations of how I would or should react to the various holy sites. And, again, as is usually the case, those expectations were dashed. I had very few emotional responses at all to those things because, to me, it was mostly intellectual. What I did find myself very drawn to, however, were not archaeological or historical sites steeped in tradition and legend (although I do find that all very fascinating), but rather human emotion in vivid relief on display virtually everywhere I looked.
Using more modern forms of art such as photography, we are in a position today to capture these emotions in a way that paint and a brush or clay and a chisel are unable to. Pain, frustration, love, tenderness, faith can all be captured as they are. There were two scenes in particular that really spoke to me.
The first was in a coffee shop in Bethlehem a block from the Church of the Nativity. Through teary eyes, I was able to snap a photo of a beautiful moment in which a father fed ice cream to his disabled son.
The second photograph is of a Jewish family lighting a Chanukah candle in the lobby of my hotel in Jerusalem.
We need not go to a museum or an exhibition or a concert to find true art because the truth that underlies all of sacred art is to be found everywhere and, as Christians, we are called to be vessels of that Sacred Art we know as Love, which is God’s crowning masterpiece and His most important gift to us. Let’s always pray that we can not only radiate God’s love out into the world, as the people in these photos are doing, but we must never lose sight of our own worthiness to be repositories of that same love because we cannot give what we do not have.