BY REV. DORAL PULLEY
“Behold the Kingdom of God is within you.”
– Luke 17:20-21
During the latter part of January, I had the distinct pleasure of going to the Holy Land for a week. Being in Israel was a powerful, transformative experience. I had been looking forward to visiting the home of scripture since I was a child. I had so many high hopes of my journey some of which were met, and others were not.
Some of the places that I had expected to have profound spiritual encounters just did not happen. For example, the manger, the Via Delarosa, the cross and the tomb of Jesus were so crowded and commercialized that there just was no time to pray and meditate in these sacred spaces. Major Christians denominations such as the Catholics, Coptics and the Greek Orthodox have challenges sharing these spaces so much so that a Muslim family must meditate between them.
In addition to denominational tension, there is also religious tension. Although there was no physical violence or verbal abuse, there was also an underlying tension in many of these holy places. For example, the Mount of Olives is claimed by three religions as a holy place. For Christians, it is the place where Jesus, the Christ, ascended into heaven. For Muslims, it is also the place where Mohammed ascended into heaven. For Jews, it is the place where Abraham offered Isaac.
The greatest lesson that I learned is that “my holy place is within.” Within there are no crowds, no conflicts and no commercialization. Like Jesus, the Christ, taught his disciples, the Kingdom of God is within you. I can go within and access the power and presence of God at any time, any place and with or without anyone else.
Rev. Doral Pulley is the senior pastor of Unity Temple of Truth Church, 511 Prescott St. S, St. Petersburg.