Holy Land Pilgrimage

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This month is your final chance to join All Saints parishioners in the third Holy Land pilgrimage, May 20-June 2, 2014. We are privileged to have The Rev. Bob Honeychurch as our spiritual leader, along with Canon Iyad Qumri, our on-the-ground Palestinian Christian guide and friend of our Diocese.

As a congregation, we began our preparation with two events. After Eventide service and supper in November, Father Bob expressed his excitement at joining his first pilgrimage, after which Art and Louise Fisher, Amanda McIntyre, and Jan Dependahl shared stories and photos.  The following Sunday, Dr. Bruce Fisk, a Westmont New Testament professor, spoke on “The Holy Land: Where Worlds Collide.”

Whether or not you were able to join these events, you have been preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime event your whole life.  The places we see are Biblical.  Our itinerary includes Jerusalem (Dome of the Rock, Holy Sepulcher, Yad Veshem and Israel Museum); Bethlehem; Nazareth (Capernaum, Sea of Galilee, and Jordan River); Ceasarea and Ramla; Jericho (Dead Sea, Judean Desert); Ramallah and Taybeh; the Mount of Olives (Gethsemane), and Emmaus.  The people we meet, the Palestinian Christians, are often called the “living stones” of the Bible.

To capture our journey’s flavor, see below a journal entry from a previous pilgrim, Clyde Osterhaus-Thayer, a longtime All Saints parishioner now living in Texas:

Up early and off again.  Passed the turnoff for the city of Cana, commemorated in the story of Jesus’ first Miracle at the wedding there. The wine from this region is supposed to be quite wretched, making His miracle of water-into-wine even more welcome! To the Prophet Nathaniel’s question of, “What good could come from Nazareth?,” we answer, “Jesus, baklava and macaroons!”

Our destination this day was The Galilee.  Lower Galilee is a wide valley with low hills, and Upper Galilee has narrow valleys and high hills, until you get to Lebanon, which is all hills with valleys too narrow for cars to pass. 

Looping through the hills, we suddenly reached our first sighting of the Sea of Galilee, sparkling turquoise blue. The far hills were the Golan Heights of Syria.  Nearby were Migdal, home of Mary Magdalene. A boat found in the mud here about 10 years ago is currently undergoing restoration and is believed to be from the First Century. 

Our first stop was at the Mount of Beatitudes.   As we approached, I led the group in the gradual, “Bless the Lord, my Soul.”   John Peterson was our guide today, and he explained how Jesus’ laws, as spoken here, turned “upside down” all previous law.  Laws of Moses from Mt. Sinai and from Leviticus were “Case Law”.  The Laws of Jesus were Apodictic, “I have come to give a new understanding of the law and the prophets.”  His law gave new meaning to the previous law.  The downtrodden now were uplifted as those who were “blessed”.

If you’re thinking this might be your year to visit the Holy Land, please call or email Karen Telleen-Lawton (805-563-8978, ktl@alumni.stanford.edu) by mid-January. Some financial assistance is available.