SEEKING JESUS (Part II)
by Sonja Harris on September 15, 2017 at 11:31 AM
‘Seeking Jesus’ are utterly profound words. This is a second in a series of our pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A friend asked if I found everything as I expected....my answer to her was, “absolutely nothing” was what I expected...nothing!
I have friends who have gone to the Holy Land and when I ask about the trip, their answers are, it was ‘wonderful’, ‘great’, and ‘beautiful’. Really, going to the Holy Land, the birthplace of Christ and one word describes it? Hopefully you will be able to see through my eyes the wondrous things I have seen and witnessed. My wish is that I will entice you to travel to the Holy Land and experience it for yourself or if you are not able, hopefully my words and images will give you the experience I felt.
Again, I will only write about the places that really moved me that I felt so inspired to put into words. It’s a strange sensation to ‘feel connected’ to a time so long ago and at times in my present life to feel so alienated from what is happening all around. I believe the feeling of being separated from our families by miles living in other cities and the division in our nation prompted us to go on a pilgrimage of prayer. Deep prayer and focused concentration is good for our souls and the Holy Land was the best place to seek Jesus.
On our fourth day in the Holy Land we drove close by the Valley of the Winds and our tour guide decided we had enough time to walk on the path Christ walked during his time on earth. To walk where Christ walked was an unreal thought for me and to actually feel the footpath beneath was mind boggling. The path is not very wide and connects Nazareth to Capernaum. It also connects Cana, Tabgha, and Mt of the Beatitudes, holy sites we visited. We only walked a few steps, probably ¼ mile, before we continued on to The Church of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor.
The Church of the Transfiguration is located 1,920 feet high on Mt Tabor and can be seen from a long distance. Antonio Barluzzi, an Italian architect dedicated his life to building or restoring many of the churches we were fortunate to see. His work is impressive to the eye and his attention to detail leaves you in awe of his work. This is one of his masterpieces.
The painting of the Transfiguration of Christ is in the main church. Matthew 17:1-8 The Transfiguration of Jesus: and he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
The art in the church is exquisite and lifts you to another place in time. There is a painting of Moses in the Northern Chapel and the Southern Chapel holds the very expressive painting of the prophet Elijah. From atop Mt Tabor looking down at the scenery was totally breathtaking. Some of my fellow pilgrims chose to walk down Mt Tabor to meet the bus for our next site. We decided to conserve our energy.
After lunch we went to Cana where Jesus changed water into wine at the wedding at the direction of His mother Mary. Cana is situated between the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth. This passage in the bible has always been one of my favorites, The Wedding at Cana John 2:1-11, when the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” As a small child attending a Catholic school I knew that Jesus had better obey his mother’s wish and that this miracle was special, Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs.
To my total surprise and delight Bill and I renewed our wedding vows at the Church of Cana. My notes in my Pilgrim book reads, “Our renewal vows were beautiful and I got emotional (I cried).” After 23 years of marriage, yes we have been through some beautiful and fun times but we have also struggled through some challenges that in the end have made our marriage stronger. I just could not imagine renewing our marriage vows in Cana until it became a reality.
A fellow Pilgrim, Daniel, was kind enough to take the photograph of the six smiling couples that renewed their wedding vows which included Mary Jane and Deacon Tom Fox (last couple on far right).
We were able to see one of the six stone water jugs mentioned in the bible and I can assure you that they are definitely not what we see in any paintings, the jugs are enormous and you can’t conceive how they were transported from one place to another. Happily, Cana is still predominately Christian with a small number of Muslims.
I will continue with a couple more Seeking Jesus articles. Remember to keep your loved ones in your prayers and may God have mercy on us.