Sunday, June 07, 2009

walk of life

An early Father's Day present from my daughter arrived via email today. She is giving me the day off by being my guest blogger. She recently returned from the real Holy Land (not the Holy Land Experience) and is willing to share some highlights with us:

If you ever crave an omelet in Nazareth, Israel, be sure to take a stroll through the market streets just outside the old city. On day one of my pilgrimage with Give Thanks and Remember, I walked down the limestone-paved roads of the marketplace and saw a stand selling really fresh eggs straight from the source and another where you could buy your own living hatchlings. I’m not sure if baby chicken is an ingredient in some Middle Eastern dishes or if most customers buy them to raise them to adulthood, but they sure were cute.

We walked to the Fontana di Maria restaurant, one of the many local eateries in Nazareth. The narrow roads were not sidewalks as I had first thought. No, they were two-way streets. It was a wonder to find any cars newer than a banged-up 1990 Fiat, so I had to document the spotless parked Mercedes taking up almost half of the road.

I ordered a Coke at lunch. Even though the label was written in Hebrew, I can assure you that the classic formula tastes just as delicious in Israel, especially when made with cane sugar.

After a huge three-course meal for lunch, we traveled by bus to Cana in Galilee where Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding feast by turning water into wine when the bridegroom’s supply had run out. The three married couples traveling with us had the chance to renew their wedding vows for each other in the church built to remember the first miracle of Christ’s public ministry. There was not a dry eye amongst us. It was truly moving to see these couples, who combined have been married 100 years, once again vow before God to love each other selflessly and completely until death parts them.

For the next ten days I witnessed and experienced things that I never would have imagined. From the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to the Sea of Galilee, Holy Sepulchre, Garden of Gethsemane and to the place of Calvary, I walked in the steps of Jesus. As I prayed and reflected in all these holy sites, I grew in my faith and even started to feel at home. Looking back to that first day when I felt so far from home in a completely foreign culture, it seemed like I had lived two years instead of two weeks. Here I was in His hometown, visiting where He first spoke the message that has echoed to all the corners of the earth and I realized that when I go back to my hometown, He’ll be coming with me.

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