Seven days, a whirlwind tour of the Holy Land, and 923 photographs later, I have returned home...ever so grateful for the pilgrimage that I made with Bishop Ken Carter and nearly 300 hundred other pilgrims from all over the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. I know that I will be processing this trip for some time to come. I also know that the journey really isn't over; rather, it is a new beginning since from this day forward I will be reading Scripture with new eyes and living into my calling with a renewed imagination.
I have decided that the first several blogs will simply follow the trip as it happened, one day at a time.
|We arrived at our hotel in Natanya at 10pm...it was too dark to really see anything. This was the view of the city and the Mediterranean from my balcony the next morning.|
|A view of the Mediterranean and remains from Herod's palace.|
|Another view of palace remains.|
|Hippodrome at Caesarea.|
|Our next stop was Mount Carmel, the traditional site of Elijah's contest with the priests of Baal. This is part of the monastery that now sits on top of the mountain.|
|The Jezreel Valley (it has also been called the battlefield of the nations, Rev. 16:14-21) as seen from the top of Mount Carmel.|
|Next, we visited Megiddo, which was fortified by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. (1 Kings 9:15).|
|Ruins of Megiddo - what remains of a sacrificial altar is seen in the middle left portion of the photograph.|
|A mustard tree on the Mount of Precipice, with a view of Nazareth in the background.|
|Mount Tabor, the highest mountain in Lower Galilee. The Byzantine Church believes this was the site of Jesus' transfiguration (Matt. 17:5).|
|Modern day Nazareth.|
|From Mount of Precipice we traveled into Nazareth to visit the Church of Mary's Well, built over what is believed to be the site of the angel's appearance to Mary when she was told she would bear a son.|
|Artwork inside the chapel.|
|Finally, we made our way to the Sea of Galilee where we visited the Ancient Boat Museum. Pictured is a fishing boat that was discovered in 1986 and dates back to the time of Jesus.|
|My first photograph of the Sea of Galilee, which is actually 600 ft below sea level. The scenery all around Galilee is simply breathtaking. It is not hard to imagine why Jesus spent 80% of His ministry around Galilee.|
Next up, Israel day two...