Dead Sea, Nazareth, Capernaum region, Jerusalem

What an amazing journey we’ve had so far. We went from several very intense days immersed in the issues of the occupation of Palestine, the security of Israel, and the benefits of one-state and two-state solutions (we’ve now met Palestinians who favor each option) … to two delightful days tracing Jesus’ footsteps (with a side trip to the Dead Sea, complete with floating, mud, and lots of laughs).
Today I fell in love with the Capernaum area. I felt like I got to know Jesus a little better by getting a feel for his neighborhood. To look across the Sea of Galilee and know that Jesus looked out over the same landscape … to stand at a likely site of Peter’s home and realize what a beautiful view he had … to see a school of fish in the shallows and imagine the disciples hearing, “Hey, boys, try a cast on the other side” … to watch a storm blow quickly in, and quickly out, and remember Sea of Galilee “storm stories” from Jesus’ day … to watch flocks of birds and see flowers in the field near where the Sermon on the Mount was given … to pause with our little band of pilgrims for prayers, the eucharist, songs by David Wilcox and Nance Petit … It’s been an absolute joy.
And I haven’t even mentioned the food.
Gradually, I can feel these first two segments of our journey coming together. Slowly, the current quest for peace, justice, and reconciliation can be seen in light of the parallel quest in Jesus’ day, and each quest enriches the understanding of the other. More on this in the days and weeks ahead, I’m sure.
Tonight we’re in Jerusalem, and tomorrow we meet with a whole array of people working for justice and peace – Jews, Christians, Muslims. Many things have become more clear since our arrival, and some things have grown more complicated for us, but one thing is absolutely certain: the picture we’re given through the media in the US is grossly distorted. If you’ve never been in both Israel and Palestine, I hope you will start questioning what you think you know about the situation here. I’ve been an avid reader on the subject for quite a while, but being here now, I see how many of my most basic assumptions were skewed from a lifetime of half-truths, unfair and imbalanced news, well-planned propaganda, and misinformation.
I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and look forward to ways to take action based on what I’ve learned and will learn in the next few days.