Friday, November 20, 2009

A Reflection or Two From Jerusalem

I've been in Israel on a study tour with some members from Bidwell Presbyterian Church for the past few days and thought I'd log in just two brief reflections.

First visiting the Galilee (in northern Israel) was amazing for setting the Bible in context, and giving my biblical interpretations dimensionality. I would not have known what it meant that King Rehoboam made a “two golden calves” one of which he set up “in Dan” (1 Kings 12:28-29) not visited the site way up in northern Israel. I can now imagine the setting for Jesus’s healing the centurion’s servant at Capernaum (Luke 7:1-9) having visited the synagogue there. (The picture on the right shows the 3rd century version of that synagogue.)

The Wailing Wall was powerful, especially with all the bar mitzvahs in process—adolescent boys carrying the Torah scroll back and forth with obvious pride, while the women watched from over the partition. Most threw semi-chewy candy when it was all done. With the paper yarmulkes, the Israeli police with M-19s, and the video cams, it was a bit of a circus. But within that circus, I felt I could hear the yearnings of the Jews crying out to God. This active faith through the centuries that still resonated at the wall moved me.

More to come in future posts I hope....