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Archive for the ‘Nazareth’ Category

For many people a visit to the Holy Land becomes a sort of “fifth gospel”. For me, it became a lens though which to read the pages of the written Gospels and I am stunned at how much clearer they have become. I am now leading a 10 day Pilgrimage to the Holy Land leaving from Aberdeen, Scotland 16th-25th March 2011.

I feel that, if at all possible, people should take the chance to visit if they can; there is so much to see, hear, learn, experience and share. Blogs, books, photos and presentations can certainly peak our attention, but nothing beats the personal experience. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is more than pious tourism and few, but the cynical, would see it as a “Christian Disneyland”. Indeed I found it to give me an awareness not only of the past, but also the present.

I became aware that the Holy Land was an amazing experience of spirituality, education, and culture.

Model of Jerusalem on eve of destruction 70 AD

Visits will include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and Qumran, as well as allowing free time for relaxation and private exploration. We will walk along the Via Dolorosa, sail on the Sea of Galilee, float on the Dead Sea and ascend the Mount of Masada by cable car.

If you’re interested in joining this adventure then please get in touch.

For more information see the attached brochure. Holy Land Pilgrimage 2011

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I had an operation on my wrist last week, and find that the restricted movement that has been imposed upon me for the next 10 days means I’m looking for things I can do without causing too much pain. I decided video editing was a safe thing to do – use one hand, point and click. Okay there have been a few moments when I’ve forgotten and tried to hold a button down, but the sharp pain up my arm reminds me it’s not the thing to do! Anyway, I’ve put together a short video of my trip to Israel and include it here to give you a flavour not only of the trip, but also of the sights and sounds of land.

 

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After our visit to Sepphoris we travelled the four miles to Nazareth, the home town of Jesus as he was growing up.   Nazareth was apparently never an important site in Jewish history;  it is not mentioned in the Old Testament or rabbinic literature, though Jews certainly lived there in Jesus’ time.   The first reference is in the New Testament (John 1:45) and even there, the town is referred to in a negative way.   Today Nazareth is a place of contrasts, such as modern buildings that protect and house the past, and ancient Byzantine and Crusader churches coexist alongside modern churches and mosques, and even the past exists in the present.

House at Nazareth Village

House at Nazareth Village

We stopped at “Nazareth Village” –  a living museum.   It is a place where people from all over the world can come and get a small taste of what it would have been like to live during Christ’ time; as it brings to life a farm and Galilean village, recreating Nazareth as it was 2,000 years ago.  Nazareth Village allows you to see, hear, smell, touch and experiences the daily life of the first century.   You are greeted by costumed “inhabitants.   You can see women spinning, drawing water and baking bread, and men tilling the soil or harvesting, and herding sheep and goats.  An entire house has been reconstructed, along with a synagogue;  similar to one in which Jesus would have preached in this very town (Luke 4:16-28), a watchtower, a threshing floor, and an olive press built from a 1st century design using 1st century methods.   The amazing thing I discovered about this place was this – some of the people who dress up and tell the stories are Muslims; the site is visited by Jews as well as Christians; and all find something there.   So if ordinary people can work together to build something that links us to a common past, surely it is possible for them to work together to lead us into a shared future.

Windows at Church of the Annunciation Nazareth

Windows at Church of the Annunciation Nazareth

After lunch we visited the Basilica of the Annunciation, the largest church in the Middle East.   The Church is a modern Catholic church built over the remains of Byzantine and Crusader churches; parts of which are still visible.   Around the courtyard surrounding the church are paintings from all over the world depicting the Madonna and Child.   Within its walls is enshrined the home/cave in which, traditions holds, Mary received the news from the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus.   It is an impressive, beautiful church and I thought the stained glass windows were stunning.   I sat for moment in the silence and enjoyed the beauty of the multicoloured light reflecting off the windows onto the floor of the church, and I marvelled at how talented and creative people are, and I thought of the true Light of the World.

Visits to the Church of St Joseph, the Synagogue Church and St Gabriel’s Orthodox Church finished the day and we were reminded by our guide that Nazareth, now a mainly Muslim city, contains over 30 Christian churches, convents and monasteries that bear witness to the fact once there were many more Christians living in the area. 

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