The hajj, or pilgrimage, is one of the five pillars of Islam, things that all Muslim are required to do. As part of the Islamic faith, all able-bodied Muslim are expected to make the journey to Mecca at least once in their lives. The ritual at Mecca occurs over five days: this year, while you and I were celebrating Thanksgiving, three million Muslims were partaking in the ritual. Muslims travel to Mecca from Istanbul, from Beijing, from Dallas, from Oslo—from all over. It is a powerful symbol of the unity and diversity inherent within the community of Islam.
My question is: what if all Christians were expected to travel to, say, Jerusalem once in their life? To walk on the same paths of not only Jesus, but also Abraham (his grave is in Hebron, in modern-day Israel), and David (his birthplace, Bethlehem, lies within Palestinian territory)?
How would that change the way we understand ourselves as a community of faith? How would that put us in better touch with not only each other, but also with our common history?