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.