May 2015
  • Day27

    Morning in Nazareth

    June 2, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    I have a quick moment and a hint of wifi, so I thought I would try to post. Just a quick update on our travels yesterday that landed us here in Nazareth. This is as much for me to remember as for you to read.

    We started the day heading to the coast and Caesarea Maritima, yet another monument to the incredible genis and diaboloical nature of Herod the Great. Unlike an architect like Frank Lloyd Wright who tried to work with the landscape, Herod's goal was to subdue it. The seaport he built at Caesarea Martitima was a momumental achievement to this end. He used a relatively unknown medium (concrete the hardens underwater) to build his seaport. He brought in something like 400 ships, each loaded with 44 tons of the stuff needed to make the concrete. He had people working for him who would dredge the harbor there by hand. Yes, swim down with containers and and bring up sand to be hauled away. Herod's way of thinking was just so grand. Nothing was out of the realm of possibility. Caesarea is also the place where Peter came to share the gospel with the Gentiles for the first time and where Paul was imprisoned for two years.

    We headed back east along Mt. Carmel to a place to overlook the Jezreel Valley, then on to Meggido. Meggido was such an important town in ancient history and although Biblical events are limited on that very spot it was in close proximity to some good ones. Wish I had a bit more time to post, but people are starting to file in for breakfast. :)

    Anyway, we ended the day in modern Nazareth (literally thousands of times larger than tiny ancient Nazareth). It's hard to get a feel for ancient Nazareth amid the car horns and blaring techno music, but if you try hard enough, as always, you can get a sense of the place. Small town. VERY small town. A town where one would not want to suddenly be "pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit." Joy was shared by families and from family to family. So was shame.

    Mary was a lot braver than I am.

    Sorry for the limited post. I'll get you next time when we get to Galilee tonight.
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  • Day27

    Golan Ridge (Bental Cone)

    June 2, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F

    Signs of the modern war that raged in these parts. We could hear evidence of Syria's infighting from this spot (mortar and tank fire). From this vantage, we could see burned out towns on the border of Syria and Israel. To this day, U.N. observers sit there, documenting gun-shots and bombs. They were very interesting to talk to.Read more

  • Day27

    Caesarea Philippi

    June 2, 2015 in Palestine ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F

    Pagan worship: Pan, Ashera, etc. Several temples in this area. This is also the area where Jesus asked his disciples "Who do you say that I am?" When you're standing right here, you understand that saying you're the Messiah has significance in a place like this.

    That large cave in the photos was also believed to be the gate to the underworld. Near this place Jesus said to Peter, "On this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it."Read more

  • Day27

    Caesarea Maritima

    June 2, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    Another of Herod's greatest accomplishments. All of the harbor is underwater today, but it wasn't hard to see why Herod would want to build in this spot. A beautiful part of the Mediterranean.

    This is also the place where Paul spent 2 years in prison and where Peter meets Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to the faith.Read more

  • Day26


    June 1, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Photos are of sitting on a ridge close to Nazareth with Jack teaching and then just a night shot of Nazareth from the monastery we were staying. The other post has more details on our stay here.

  • Day26

    Day 14: Morning

    June 1, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    This morning begins our last week here in Israel. Of course it will be a bittersweet week. All good things, they say, must come to an end. (I would probably say, “Many good things…”) No one here wants to see it end, but we are all ready to get back to family and loved ones. Do I ever miss my girls, Carol and Samantha.

    But the trip isn’t over yet and we’ve been told the best is yet to come. After what we’ve experienced, that’s hard for most of us to believe. We leave for our final field trip for four days up to the region of Galilee. Mt. Carmel, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, etc. The area that Jesus lived his life. He came to the end of his Earth-stay here in Jerusalem, but he stayed on Earth in the region we’ll be in for the next week. I’ll try to post, but cannot promise anything due to wi-fi supply. 

    Yesterday, we went to two wonderful places. We started the day with an early train trip across town to Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust Museum. I am not sure how to convey the power and emotion of being in a place like that. I taught Holocaust literature for almost 8 years to Jr. High and High School students, but walking through that place put clothes on all of the abstractness of what I taught. I’m not sure if that metaphor makes sense, but I can’t think of a good way to say it. As I watched survivor testimonies on T.V. screens throughout the museum, I was forced several times to choke back tears and take deep breaths so as to not be overwhelmed with emotion. A few times I huffed audibly so as to betray the deep affect that it was having on me. Tourists in all shapes and sizes and colors were overcome as I was though, so I had no reason for hiding. We wandered out the back of the museum in silence, no one sure what to say.

    The end of the day had a very different feel to it. I may have mentioned my climber friend who is here in Israel on the trip. Well, he wasn’t a friend before the trip, but climbing is always a quick and easy bond. With a group of people, we made our way across town on public transportation to a climbing gym across the street from the Jerusalem Mall. We all laughed at how unconcerned about safety they were at the gym. “Do you know how to belay?” “Yes” “OK, don’t get hurt.” No waivers, nothing. And we had a great time climbing all over the place, only occasionally coming near to messing something up irreversibly. I was glad that we only had a few hours in the place because my strength faded quickly and we got home at a reasonable hour.

    Oswald Chambers wrote in today’s devotional that sometimes “we mistake panic for inspiration.” In other words, sometimes the people we look at who are busy for the Lord are often in more of a state of panic than inspiration. Panicked that they are not doing enough. Panicked they their life has not been full enough, or good enough. That is why, he goes on, most of us work more FOR God than WITH God.

    Several times on this trip I have been struck by the sense that much of my life is busy for God. But walking where Jesus walked on the streets of Jerusalem, seeing what He saw from the Mount of Olives, reminds me that this life is so much better when done next to Him.

    This may be weird, but more than a few times now I have pictured Jesus walking right in the middle of our little group of student-tourists, laughing at something stupid someone said.
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