Saturday, July 2, 2011

Making Connections

The Western Wall of the Temple, dating from the time of Jesus.  This is the Men's Section.  The Women's Section next to it was much more crowded and much smaller.  I put all our prayer requests, collected in April, in chinks in the wall, and said my own prayers there as well.  Very holy and moving, and very lively just before sundown on Fridays...
This has been such a full time for us in the course The Bible and Its Setting.  I know I'm making so many good connections with the land and really look forward to sharing these from the pulpit and in adult ed over the coming years.  Understanding the link between choosing between life and death, blessings and curses, from the Book of Joshua.  Understanding Jesus' question to his disciples (and to Peter most especially) "Who do you say that I am?" from a trip way up north to Dan, the site called Banias (Caesarea Phillipi).  Understanding the life on the Sea of Galilee from a trip to that wonderful and beautiful lake.
Millstones in Capernaum for grinding olives

Actually we got to swim twice in the Sea of Galilee and it was refreshing and wonderful, the same water that Jesus walked upon and the same water that produced miraculous catches of fish.

Two classmates with a fish lunch on the Sea of Galilee in Capernaum
The fish is tilapia and is called locally "St. Peter's Fish"
Detail from 3rd--4th Century Synagogue in Capernaum, the village where Jesus lived
His Synagogue was made of dark basalt stone; this one of limestone

We saw the place where Jesus "rehabilitated" Peter with the threefold question "Peter, do you love me?"  We saw the place of the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.  The place of Mary's birth and the spring of Bethesda.
Mary and Jesus in Mosaic at the Church of Ein Karem celebrating the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth

The water tunnel of Hezekiah and the Pool of Siloam where Jesus cured a man born blind.  The place of the Last Supper and the Agony in the Garden.

As the course ends we will be walking the Way of the Cross through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the footsteps of Jesus.  And celebrating the Resurrection in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

This has been a marvelous time and I am so grateful for the experience.
In the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem

I asked the course director about bringing parishioners on pilgrimage through St George's College in Jerusalem and he said that yes indeed this has happened in the past and it works well--the pastor and parishioners sign up for a course and all attend together, along with others from across the Anglican Communion.  What a wonderful pilgrimage opportunity.  Let it cook a while!  Maybe a couple of years from now we'll meet in Jerusalem ...

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