Sunday, September 6, 2009

This was a small part of our day walking the Via Dolorosa. It was difficult for us all to stay together as the normal life of the city continued all around us. It's hard to imagine what it might be like during high holy days; shoulder to shoulder and front to back. Hard on our midwestern personal space sensibilities.

And yet, if one has an opportunity, I would still encourage one to take it. "Uncomfortable" is sometimes a good place for learning and meaning to take place. Today we travel to the Garden Tomb, a traditional site for the burial of Jesus. This is the second "traditional" site for his burial, although in truth, neither have much claim other than many have come here and spent time attempting to make it so.

The sites that mean more to me are outside of Jerusalem.

I guess I didn't want to come to Jerusalem much more than Jesus did. Galilee and the wilderness fit my midwestern theology much better than the hustle and bustle of the city. (I knew I would feel this way, so not surprised). It is what it is.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Retreat Day ... my favorite ....

Today is "retreat day" here on the Mount of Beatitudes. A day for all our pilgrims to catch their breath, and refresh themselves in many different ways. Some are walking to Capernaum, some to a nearby spring that feeds the Sea of Galilee, some are reading, others are keeping silent. Each in his and her own way are reflecting on the past few days and the sites they have seen together and are preparing themselves for our journey to Jerusalem.

Once there, we know our pace will pick up and it will be more difficult to be in a reflective and refreshing mode. We are pledging to help each other in this task.

The video here today is from one of the mountain springs that feeds the Jordan River and then the Sea of Galilee. During the rainy season the water coming over this falls increases 5 fold. It's clear and fresh and comes from the snow melt high on Mount Hermon.

Yesterday we traveled to Caesarea Philippi, where tradition says Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" Do you remember Peter's response?

We also traveled through the Golan Heights seeing the after effects of the 1967 war, and the important agricultural value of the land. UN peacekeepers are still here as are Jewish settlers. We saw many destroyed Syrian villages as a result of the war. The Jewish military are also present. Still disputed land.

Tomorrow we travel to Jerusalem. Shalom.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today is Wednesday here in Upper Galilee and we went for a boat trip on the Sea (think large lake actually), for a different perspective of the countryside. It never ceases to amaze me how much history of a world changing nature has taken place in such a small geographical place.

In this video you will see a short clip of our guide Claudia, a Greek Orthodox of Arab decent, sharing with us about events that have traditionally been thought to have taken place here; feeding of the 5,000 males plus their families, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reconnecting with his disciples after his resurrection and preaching in the the Synagogue in Capernaum.

We are learning, water, or the lack there of, is becoming an increasingly important issue. The Sea of Galilee is no longer considered "flowing" water and therefore not satisfactory for ritual cleansing. Very interesting.

Shalom all.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Our visit to Nazareth ... “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Well, … yes.

Today was a good day, a long day, but a good day. We are tired and will be giving into sleep soon to prepare to set sail tomorrow on the Sea of Galilee in a traditional first century fishing boat.

Today we visited what tradition believes was the childhood home of Jesus. We also visited Sepphoris, an ancient Roman city, possibly the second largest city in the Israel of Jesus day, and yet never mentioned in our scriptures. It is located within an hour's walk of Nazareth, and is quite likely a place where Joseph and his son Jesus worked as day laborers.

The truth be known, in the village of Nazareth with a population of only 300 to 400 in the first century, work would have been scarce. Today the city is home to nearly 75,000, a large percentage, possibly as high as 47%, who are Christian.

Our pictures here include our visit to “Nazareth Village” a recreation of first century Nazareth. Shalom!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sea of Galilee & the Primacy of Peter

Today we began with worship on the Mount of Beatitudes, then traveled to the Chapel of the Primacy of Peter. Here our pilgrims we able to experience the traditional site where Jesus and his Disciples may have frequently gathered.

We have many stories in our scriptures that refer to such gatherings and while no one can be certain of any location "historically" this site has much to recommend it. Good fishing, secluded and yet near to a possible location for the Sermon on the Mound and to Capernaum where we are told Jesus spent much of his time here in Galilee.

Our group is good, appropriately moved and feeling blessed and privileged. They are truly beginning to enter into retreat time and we hope are being renewed and refreshed. Much sharing continues throughout this very diverse group. To those at home, we are all well fed, well housed and well cared for here at ANSMI MOUNT BEATITUDES. Shalom.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Well .... here's my first post from Israel. It took me a little longer then I thought it would to make this first one. This may have something to do with the fact we ended up with different accommodations than we had planned.

Pictured here is ANSMI MOUNT BEATITUDES that overlooks the Sea of Galilee. If you go to this link you will see we are being forced to "rough it!"

It's a beautiful place as the website will attest. Today is Sunday here and we will be going to worship soon. I encourage you all to also follow the other blogs listed here on the right hand side. Each has its own unique perspective.

That's it for now, more to come. Enjoy ... Shalom

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our Pilgrims

Thursday afternoon, these few, these happy and eager few will wing off to holy pilgrimage. We are all most grateful for everyone who has made this trip possible.

Thank You!!

For fourteen days will walk the roads, hills & streets where so many have walked before. We will walk through the towns, the villages and the holy places that have changed so many who have walked there before. Our search?

To find the peace of Christ and to learn more faithfully how to ......

"Love Mercy, Do Justice, and to Walk Humbly with our God"