I want to first off apologize for not being able to blog from Israel. I did prepare this first blog but was never able to connect my laptop to the internet so the blog never showed up in Mrs. Puccio’s dropbox. It was very frustrating, believe me I tried. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing some thoughts from Israel, starting with the one blog I did write on that first Wed. morning of our pilgrimage.
We have arrived safely at our first destination in Israel, Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. The day/night travel from JFK was very tiring and none of us got very much sleep. But our first stop at Caesarea last evening was incredibly awesome. The spiritual energy created by being at the place where Paul spent some of his most important days was overwhelming. To sit in the original ancient theater of King Herod the great and to know Paul the apostle saw the same things I was seeing brought tears of joy to my eyes. We then watched the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea, a sight Paul himself experienced hundreds of times in the three years or so that he spent imprisoned at Caesarea. What an incredible blessing it was to be there.
This day (Wednesday) started early with Don McKay and I taking a short walk out to the Sea of Galilee and watching the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. Again I was amazed to consider the idea that this is the same sight Jesus experienced many times throughout his life. Our day was full of many activities, too many to list and most of us were falling asleep on the bus on our way back to the hotel for dinner.
The highlight of the day for me was to have the privilege of sharing some devotional thoughts from the Mount of Beatitudes. This was a great privilege that overwhelmed my senses in sharing with our little flock here. I shared that Matthew who records the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5-7 of his gospel stated that the people were amazed at Jesus teaching because He spoke with authority. What an amazing thing it must have been to sit at Jesus’ feet and absorb this incredible message and Man. Though we don’t know the exact location where Jesus actually preached from, it really doesn’t matter because Jesus’ presence and message filled up the whole mountain. The Sermon on the Mount is not a suggestion for Christian living but a manifesto on how differently Christians are to live and think. It is truly a counter-cultural message that we need to carefully apply to our lives. What an incredible privilege to stand in the shadow of the Lord Jesus Christ and to bring a message of hope and encouragement to my little flock. Virginia DelaCruz also shared a word on God’s blessings in her life. It was a very special moment in our lives. Rejoicing together in our Savior!
Shalom, Pastor Rich