Wednesday, January 19, 2011


We had an opportunity to worship dialog with Mitre Rahab of the Christmas Lutheran Church. We visited the International Center and the Dar al-Kalima School, and Health and Wellness Center. Of note is my impression that the Christian Palestinians are forward looking, with a commitment to create and sustain a vision of abundant living in theior communities with the specific focus on art, mental health, and personal and community development.

I have a deep appreciation for their commitment to a living faith.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mount of Olives and the Via Dolorosa

Beginning with the Sanctuary of Bethphage and the Dom Patra on the Mount of Olives, we continued down the mountain to the church where Jesus wept, Mary's tomb and finally to the Via Dolorosa.

I moved through the day with deep gratitude for the love of God, and the witness of God's presence in these places that "have been made holy by the prayers of the many" stated by Ron, a fellow traveler.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dead Sea

We visited Masada, The Qumran, and the Dead Sea.

Highlights: Swimming in the Dead Sea and entering Jerusalem.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Jordan River

Destinations: The Jordan River, Beth Shean and Jericho.

The Jordan River reminds me that some ideas are stagnated by the systems that are created to promote them. The murky water hardly resembles the clean water of a river, and yet this is where tradition notes that John the Baptist, and god Almighty acknowledged Jesus.

The magnificence of Beth Shean reminded me of the story of Saul and Absalom in their final humiliation.

Today I was reminded of the inevitability of transitions in human history.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sea of Galilee

Today we visited Safed, the Mount of the Beautitudes, Capernaum, the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Church of the Primacy of Peter. Each destination was special in its own way. I found myself humming 'How Great though Art" all day long as I remembered the scripture accounts associated with the places we visited throughout the day.

I learned something about the origins of Jewish mysticism from Toba, our guide in the city of Safed. Safed sits on a high perch on the side of a mountain, whipped by cold winds from the north.

The Mount of the Beatitudes sits atop a mountain with a natural amphitheater. The lake a Galilee is visible in the distance. It is an active Catholic community with a convent, and an extraordinary witness to events recorded in the gospels concerning the activities of Jesus' ministry.

Capernaum, the hometown of Peter and the place where Jesus may have established his followers, was a crossroads of communication and commerce. I appreciate the strategic nature of this city to launch a new ministry!

The Church of the Loaves and Fishes reminded me of my childhood church. The miracle of the 'bread of life' satisfies the traveler of the 'way'. I was moved with adoration for my Lord who has come to nourish all people and nations with life!

The Primacy of Peter is nestled alongside the natural rock boat dock of tradition, on the lake of Galilee where fishermen of the fist century docked their boats with the netted catch of the day. Tradition notes that this is the shore where Jesus met his disciples after his resurrection, and proceeded to restore Peter's authority as an apostle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Western and Central Galilee

Three highlights of today were the visits to the Cliffs of Abel, the remains of the town of Zippori, and Nazarath. The Cliffs of Abel provided a birds eye view of the beautiful landscape of Upper and Lower Galilee. Traveling up and down Galilee requires one to negotiate mountains and valleys. I imagined Joseph traveling across this landscape with his family in tow. Joseph probably took his family to the town of Zippori, where he would have introduced Jesus to the center of culture, and to his craft. Zippori is five miles from Mary's (the mother of Jesus) home in Nazarath, where then Church of the Annunciation is located. The Church of the Annunciation sits atop several cave dwellings in the city of Nazareth, and is a magnificent edifice. It's beauty is complimented by displays of art that depict Mary, from almost every nation in the world. The home of Mary is one of the cave dwellings beneath the Church, and the traditional site of the annunciation. It is considered a holy place in the Christian tradition.

This is the place where Jesus came to know himself among his family and his kin people. This is where I gained a deeper appreciation for Mary. Hail Mary!

Throughout the day I was reminded of how the extraordinary usually occurs alongside the mundane ordinary events of life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Middle East Travel Seminar 2011

Our next travel seminar is scheduled for January 2011. Watch the LPTS website for information beginning in Summer of 2010. If you are interested in learning more or being put on a list of prospective travelers, contact me at!