We arrived safe and sound in Round Lake after 11:00 p.m. last night, and jet lag is definitely taking hold of me this afternoon. However, I did want to give you a final look at our last couple of days in Israel.
First, take a moment to pray for the continuing escalation of tensions across the Middle East. The entire region is undergoing a political and social shaking; the shaking has all kinds of spiritual implications. Sunday’s nakba protests left at least 15 dead in Israel/Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Of one thing I am certain: in the midst of the increasingly intense chaos, God is calling each one of his children in the region to himself. There is no other refuge, no hiding place, except him.
On our final day in Israel, we awoke to a view of the Sea of Galilee, then headed to the spot on the Sea where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Three of us took turns reading the passage aloud as we stood in that place. The place is a magnet for pilgrims from all over the world. I found myself praying that Jesus’ own people (and mine!) would be drawn to his words – they were there in droves on the day 2,000 years ago that he first gave this revolutionary teaching in the natural amphitheater along the shore.
We then headed up the scary steep switchback road to the top of Mount Tabor, site of Deborah’s victory before we ended our day in Tel Aviv. After dumping our bags at the hotel, we headed to the Mediterranean. Though it was a bit late (and a bit cool) for swimming, I did wade into the water before we ate dinner while watching the sun set. What a way to end the gift of an amazing two and a half weeks in Israel.
I’ve now been there four times, and each time I leave the country, I leave a little more of my heart behind.
And I think that’s exactly how I’m meant to feel.
Enjoy a few pix of our last couple of days there:
|In Tiberias, along the Sea of Galilee, just before the sky opened up.|
|Blessed are they that don’t bring their pets, wear shorts, yap, drink, shoot or smoke on the Mount of Beatitudes.|
|They do sell wine at the Mount of Beatitudes gift shop. But you have to drink it somewhere else.|
|Near the monastery atop Mt. Tabor. The site is considered one of the possible places where the Transfiguration took place.|
|At the top of Mt. Tabor, with a view of a village below. Yes, those tiny little boxes are houses. Did I mention I don’t like heights?|