Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday April 20th The Sea of Galilee

We haven't talked about the other members of our group yet. Besides the 14 people from Hosanna traveling on this trip, there's a couple from the Cities, Gary and Joannie Sackreiter; a couple from Elbo Lake, Gene and Marilynn Larson and a couple from Rochester, Gene and Marilyn Tredder and their niece, Sara Bracket. There's also a couple from Wauseca named Merlyn and Bonnie Proechel. As you can see, there are two Gene's, two Melyn's (believe it or not) two Larsen (one spelled Larson) families and two Marilyn's although one spells her name with two n's. They've all been on trips with Larry and Joanne Larsen before and are seasoned travelers.

What makes this trip unique for them and for all of us is the three pastors along on the trip and the daily devotions,singing and praying we do.

Today we spent the day on the Sea of Galilee and the areas around Capernaum where Jesus did his ministry. We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee - luckily we didn't have to walk on water. It was extremely calm on the lake and very hot - it got to 91 degrees today! We have a great picture with the three pastors standing on the stern of the boat under the Israeli and American flags. The men who ran the boat even showed us how the disciples might have fished and the nets they used. Our guide, Doran, told us the it was even more of an accomplishment than we might think when the disciples were called to follow Jesus. At the time they were probably teenagers and getting a teenager to do what you want is especially amazing. While we were on the boat, we sang, "I've Got Peace Like a River"

We went to a "Men From Galilee" Museum where the remains of a wooden boat most likely coming from the time of Jesus was found on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was a group of Lutheran archeologists that discovered it. The way they found it because the lake got so low and they dug it out and restored it and preserved it is quite a story of perserverance.

The description of the synagogue was interesting because it started out as a place of teaching and readingof the Torah - only on Mondays and Thursdays during the crusades -when Jews could congregate around the market place safely. In the long area in back of the synagogue were rooms where families could come to stay if they were visiting the area.

Only in the 2nd century did it become a place of worship. Families would build their homes around it in a close formation sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. They just had to leave a space between the synagogue and the houses wide enough for a donkey to get through. It gave the impression of a very crowded, busy area. We saw the remains of Peter's house where he lived with his mother-in-law when Jesus healed her. We learned more about the many miracles Jesus did in the synagogues he visited in his travels around Capernaum and how only two are individually named in the gospel of Luke - the man whose daughter was sick and healing the woman who had been bleeding for many years. All the other miracles were described in multitudes. An interesting fact about the building of holy place around Peter's home was that some of the funding was provided by ancestors of the Zebedee family and James and John - the sons of Zebedee.

We saw the church of the multitides that commemorates the place where Jesus fed the 5000 with the loaves and fishes. Our guide, Doran, talked about how Jesus had the disciples hand out the food in a way that he was actually "ordaining" them to be leaders for after he was gone. He wanted the people of the area to trust them when they could no longer turn to Jesus.

We also saw the mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his sermon on the mount. We heard the 8 blessings from Matthew 5-7 read by Pastor Meiers and we sang "Blessed are They" and prayed for a life lived in the framework Jesus laid out for us in the beatitudes.

Our final activity for the day was to go up to Mt. Tavor, the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus was seen in all his glory along with Moses and Elijah by Peter, James and John. Pastor Reinschmidt preached about the 3 exoduses up there and we prayed the Lord's Prayer. What a moving experience that was!

We really got to see what it must have been like for Jesus and the disciples - the rough terrain on which they traveled, the obstacles they faced, the leading of God all along the way as they continued living out the exodus of the Jews first from Egypt during Moses' time, then from Babylon during the time of Isaiah and finally when Jesus rescued all the world through his death and resurrection. This has been the best day so far.

Tomorrow it's on to the river Jordan where we can have a ceremonial re-baptism and then to Jordan where we'll be with a new tour company for two days.

Blessings to all. ~Barb & Niel & Pastor Bill and Beth and Ginny and Karla and Paul (all here watching me type)

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