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Holy Land Tours, Religious Pilgrimages, Faith based travel

Holy Land Tours and Religious Pilgramages

 

From the earliest days of the Christian church, prayerful pilgrims have made their way to the sacred places where Jesus lived and died and appeared after his Resurrection.  Many travelled on foot.  Their journeys involved enormous effort and self-sacrifice, and they faced great hardship and perils.

 

Russian Holy Land pilgrims in the 19th century
Russian pilgrims in the late 19th century
Modern Holy Land pilgrims on the Sea of Galilee
Modern pilgrims on the Sea of Galilee

 

Thankfully, it is much easier to do a pilgrimage to the Holy Land today.  However, many people weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately decide not to go.  This is a shame, because the pro's definitely outweigh the cons, and the desire to be a pilgrim is deepy rooted in human nature. For hundreds of years, pilgrimages to holy places have been made as acts of devotion, penance, or thanksgiving, or to seek blessings or miracles.

 

The biggest reason to take a Holy Land tour is that quite simply, it will change your life.  St. Jerome, who arrived in the Holy Land in AD 385 and lived there for 36 years working as a Bible translator wrote: "we understand Scripture better when we have seen Judea with our own eyes.."  Your Bible will go from black and white to full color.  Every time you open your Bible for the rest of your life, you will have an image in your mind of the setting because you will have seen it with your own eyes.  You will walk where Jesus walked, see where he died and rose again.  You will be transformed

 

A pilgrimage is a sacred journey in which God is encountered through the places, people, and situations a pilgrim meets.  The physical journey coincides with an inner spiritual journey that reflects the concept of life itself as a pilgrimage towards Heaven.

Holy Land pilgrims map
(Click the map to enlarge)

 

From the time of Solomon, more than 900 years before Christ, pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem was a thrice yearly obligation for Jews. From the time he was 12, Jesus observed this tradition with his family. As Jerusalem came into sight, pilgrims would break into song and dance.  The joyous nature of this occasion is reflected in Psalms 122:

 

I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Our feet are standing

Within your gates,

O Jerusalem.

 

Taking part in a pilgrimage offers more than just spiritual benefits. It enriches the mind as well as the soul, by seeing how other people live, gaining an appreciation of their cultures and history, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of their marketplaces and bazaars, and sharing in what they eat and drink.  And this can occur in the company of people with similar faith and interests, many of whom remain friends long after the pilgrimage is over. 

 

 

Jews, Christians and Muslims are obviously drawn to different pilgrimage sites. However, even among 21st century Christians, diferent groups have their own specific agendas.

  1. Orthodox pilgrims concentrate their pilgrimages around Holy Days.  They spend time in churches, making the rounds of icons to kiss or venerate them.
  2. Catholic pilgrims come to renew their faith.  They tend to focus on New Testament sites and reflect on appropriate Scripture at each place. 
  3. Protestant pilgrims tend to prefer the open country around the Sea of Galilee, or the natural setting of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.
  4. Christian Zionist pilgrims have a focus on supporting the State of Israel, which they see as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and leading to the Second Coming of Jesus.

As professionals, we understand the individual needs of each group, and we are happy to work with you to build your ideal itinerary.

 

The biggest concerns about going to the Holy Land are: Safety and Price.  

 

SAFETY: The truth is, anything could happen travelling anywhere in the world.  Israel is the most security conscious nation in the world and millions of people visit Israel every year without incident.  In fact, in 2013, Israel set a new record receiving over 3.5 million tourists!  If you think about it, have you ever heard of any Christian pilgrim that has ever been harmed on a tour?  If it were not safe, we would not recommend that you go, but we can confidently recommend that you DO go!  If you are still concerned about it, why not pray about it and let God tell you if you should go or not?

 

PRICE: Many people have already made up their mind that "it is too expensive", but when you compare the price of travelling within the U.S. and paying for hotels, gas, and food, it really is not that expensive.  We have a variety of tours to fit any budget, and prices vary depending on the time of the year.  We have Holy Land tours starting around $1,500 per person (not including airfare) and it only takes 8 people to make your own group and to be eligible for group discounts. 

 

And with Globus' "Get Out and Give Back" fund-raising program, a trip to the Holy Land can be a great way to raise funds for your church or group.  Depending on the size of your group, Globus will make up to $1,000 contribution to your church or school when you return from your trip!  Call, email, or stop by one of our offices today to get started planning your own pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 



 

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