Thursday, March 12, 2015

A land of calm and chaos: Holy Land pilgrimage observations
Natalie Hoefer writes:
The sky was clear as we sat in the wooden boat that plied the waters of the Sea of Galilee. I inhaled deeply then exhaled slowly, taking in the view.

To the east and the north, green hills continued their watch as they did in the time of Christ. To the west, the mountains of Jordan seemed to slumber in a shroud of mist.

Such a peaceful feeling it was, riding upon the lake in the early morning quiet.

Yet thanks to the small size of the “sea” (33 miles long by 13 miles wide), its shallow depth and its location between two mountain ranges which trap weather systems, a storm on that same placid lake can create waves as high as 12 feet, large enough to swamp the Apostles’ boat and cause them to cry out, “Lord, save us!” (Mt 8:25)

That contrast of calm and chaos on the Sea of Galilee is an apt analogy to describe the Holy Land in general.

It is a land where views like the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea and the lush vista from Mount Tabor can produce such serenity, yet where religious, ethnic and political differences create a palpable tension that seems ready to combust at any moment.

One simply can’t walk away from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land without spiritual growth.
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