The Rev. Brian Mercer of First United Methodist Church spoke at the Minden Lions Club luncheon last week.
Mercer shared his experience in traveling to The Holy Land of Israel.
“Our view here is that it is dangerous and unstable,” Mercer said. “But when you walk the streets of Old Jerusalem and see children running to gather milk or food, it’s clear that the city is still alive by the grace of God. They are people just like us who want peace for themselves and their family.”
Mercer explained that despite having no clear advantageous location, not being near any significant body of water or holding any abundant natural resources, God deemed Israel a holy place.
From Jesus’ birth place, to the Sea of Galilee – where Christ would preach, to Mount Precipice where Jesus would avoid being thrown from a cliff, Mercer could not pick a single location to recommend.
“If you are a follower of Christ, put a trip to Israel at the top of your bucket list,” he said.
Mercer expounded on how seeing these biblical locations is an experience like no other.
“Being able to look out to the Sea of Galilee and know that this is the place you’ve read about is amazing.”
Mercer also gave some personal insight into Palestine.
Mercer said that while he supports our nation supporting Israel that there are two sides to every story.
He would go on to explain that when you go there and learn that in 1948, when Israel was formed, the Palestinian people who owned land there, were told that they could no longer live on their land.
“You don’t have to agree with that perspective,” he said. “You don’t have to take a sign out of your yard that says ‘I Stand With Israel,’ I don’t believe it’s ever a bad thing to hear the other side of the story.”
In closing he encouraged remembering that despite cultural and physical differences, Arabic people are also God’s children and to pray for them.