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Middle East Travel Seminar 2012

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Middle East Travel Seminar 2012 - Page Text Content

FC: MIDDLE EAST 2012 | Jordan Israel Palestine Greece Union Presbyterian Seminary

1: This Union Presbyterian Seminary travel seminar was more than an educational experience. As I reflected and processed on the three weeks, I found that the journey was, for me, a metaphor for life - for the Christian life in particular. The trip began as an adventure - excavations and exotic foods. Then we walked around Galilee, following Jesus' path as disciples, reading the Scriptures at the places where he taught. We moved on to Jerusalem, wept looking down from the Mount of Olives, then became pilgrims following Jesus' to Gethsemane, then the cross, then the tomb. We learned of the realities of Palestinians today, and the complexities of history and religions and nations, and we went to the Mount again and wept - for our world. And then we left - struggling to make sense of the world and our calling, and struggling to hold on to the intensity of our experiences when we left the Holy Land and experienced the beauty and excitement of Greece. Returning, we have to decide how we've been impacted ... and how we will respond. Lisa Salita, 2012

2: Adventure - History, Archeology, Exploration

3: Amman, Jordan | ancient and modern

5: Greco - Roman ruins in Gerash | note Hadrian's Arch, built for the emperor's visit

6: Crusaders' Castle at Al Kerak - Biblical site of Moab

7: The Basilica of St. George in Madaba - with mosaics dating back to the 6th century

8: View from Mt. Nebo - where God showed Moses the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34)

9: leading devotions from the top of Mt. Nebo sculpture of the serpentine cross at the summit

11: National Archeological Museum in Amman

12: Petra

15: from the Siq - a first view of the Treasury

16: We made it all the way to the Monestary - not an easy feat for some of us! | (but not to the top, like this guy)

17: Modes of transportation: on foot, by camel... or an SUV in the garage?

18: Border crossing from Jordan to Israel - | Luckily, we made it through rather quickly.

20: The Dead Sea

21: Qumran

22: On the road ... through Palestinian border check points around Jericho, past the Mount of Temptation (with Orthodox monastery perched precariously below), past fertile fields....

23: The Golan Heights - view of Mount Hermon | Mount Avital, Israeli Intelligence Unit; UN compound; view into Syria towards Damascus | Reminders of war: shelled buildings, barbed-wire fences surrounding live minefields

24: Tel Dan, one of the springs that is the source of theJordan River. Beautiful and popular. | Banais springs in Caesarea Philippi, Golan Heights, another source of the Jordan

25: Becoming Disciples: traveling in Jesus' footsteps in the hills and towns around Galilee

26: By boat from Tiberius to Magdala - where a 2000 year old fishing boat was recovered

27: Capernaum - church built on site of Peter's house (Mt. 8)

28: The Church of the Loaves and Fishes in Tagbha Matthew 14, Luke 9, Mark 6, John 6,

29: The Church of the Primacy of Peter John 21

30: The Church of the Beatitudes, between Tagbha and Capernaum, on the hillside where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)

31: Basilica of the Annunciation Nazareth (Luke 1) | the upper church and grotto depictions from around the world adorn the church

32: The sea wall in Old Akko | Jezzar Pasha Mosque in Akko

33: The Knights' Halls in Old Akko The Knights' Church in Caesarea Maritima | Remains of the aqueduct and theatre in Caesarea Maritima, Herod the Great's city

34: lunch on the Mediterranean | Mt. Carmel, where Elijah challenged the priests of Baal (I Kings 18) | Arrival in the Old City of Jerusalem - awaiting new experiences

35: Our Pilgrimage to Jersusalem looking down on the city from the Mount of Olives

36: "As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes." Luke 19: 41-42 | Dominus Flevit Church, on the Mount of Olives

37: Worship and Communion in the Garden of Gethsemane

41: around Jerusalem

42: The Western Wall - a place of prayer, and on this day, nationalistic celebration on Reunification Day

43: following the Stations of the Cross

44: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

46: Arriving in Jerusalem on Reunification Day - | Dichotomies and Complexities - Pilgrimage Becomes More Troubling

47: Traveling the next morning through the border crossing to the other side of the wall into Palestine to visit Bethlehem

51: Church of the Nativity

52: Lutheran Christmas Church

53: Receiving hospitality and learning about conflict resolution efforts at Wi'am

54: Exploring and Examining History - feeling the tension between national and religious identities

55: A Christian group at the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

56: Worship and Communion again - at the Anglican site thought to be another possible location of Golgotha and the tomb

57: Church of St Peter in Gallicantu - where Jesus suffered and Peter denied knowing him

59: St Peter in Gallicantu - where Jesus was questioned and beaten and imprisoned until his crucifixion - | but a place where all who have denied Him and failed Him can come to worship, and receive forgiveness

60: And then we left Jerusalem, and from Tel Aviv flew to Greece... | But that's where the real challenge began. How do we remain focused disciples when we leave the places Jesus lived and walked and taught? How do we keep the intensity we felt in the midst of the tensions of life and belief in the Holy Land, once we've left and gone out into the world? How much of the experience will stay with us once we're surrounded by distractions? What message do we have to share, and what callings are we to follow? What do we bring from our pilgrimage into our lives, and into our ministries? When the trip ended, our journeys began. | We visited sites where the Gospel spread - Corinth and Athens. And we toured and ate and swam and shopped and went sight-seeing and enjoyed Greece.

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  • By: Lisa S.
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  • Title: Middle East Travel Seminar 2012
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