In the beginning…the Word became flesh.

My roommate, Larry and I, started our day around 5:45am so that we could watch the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee.  Back home this probably would not have happened! However with the time change and not sleeping on the plane, my internal clock was off.  So, I used it to my advantage and was able to wake up and take pretty amazing pictures!

The items on our agenda today were:

Mount Carmel, – The mountain top from which Elijah tested (God actually did all the work) 450 prophets of Baal in a challenge to see whose god was real:  God 1 – Baal 0!!


Me standing in the Mediterranean Sea at the ancient Herodian port capital, Caesarea. The wind was vicious and the water was cold!

Tel Megiddo,

The underground hand carved cistern for arguably the #1 fortified crossroad training post on the route between Egypt and Babylon.

Nazareth –  saw the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.

The Iconostasis within the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation

Cana – saw the Wedding Church at Cana from the road but was not able to stop.

Most interesting is the two distinctions between the places we saw.  Caesarea and Tel Megiddo are actual ruins and archeological digs.  They know this is exactly where these places are.  Mount Carmel, the Church of the Annunciation, and the Wedding Church at Cana were all just best gueses.  We are pretty sure that these sites are at least within a stones throw of the biblical location, but we can’t know for sure because Jesus and the disciples never stopped to lay a corner stone or marker saying “Jesus was here”.  However these locations over centuries of pilgrims and attaining their own traditions and stories themselves are very established and from what I saw at the Church of the Annunciation (which competes for location with the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation just down the street) it contained some of the most beautiful frescos, paintings, icons, etc., I have ever seen.

The most powerful thing today was visiting the Church of the Annunciation.  This is the location thought to be where the Arch-Angel Gabriel visited and announced to Mary that she would bear a child.  This is the place where the Word became flesh.  The Greek Orthodox church is situated over the original well that supplied Nazareth with fresh water at the time of Jesus.  This is the well that Mary and most likely Jesus himself would have walked to in order to gather their daily water.  The original water cooler gossip and information dispersing cultural activity.

To say this place was moving was an understatement.  The site of the Incarnation, to be there…smelling the incense, hearing the water flowing, feeling the presence of God in your midst.  While there I was thinking of the story from Luke of Mary and Gabriel, retelling in my head the prologue of John.  Thinking, reflecting, praying about what it means for God to dwell among us.  My humanity, our humanity, this earth, our earth sanctified, in a state of becoming and being because the Lord our God, humbled Himself taking the form of a servant…and doing that in this place, instilling the coming kingdom here in this place.  It is humbling, inspiring, encouraging, and fulfilling all at the same time.

It also didn’t hurt that a wedding was about to take place in the church and the wedding party was out front taking pictures.  Just an all around beautiful moment and place.

Passage to the Grotto containing the site of the Annunciation


Walking on Holy Ground

We arrived in Israel, the Holy Land!  For it being only 8 hours ahead of Louisiana it took about 20 hours of travel.  That is the time from leaving the church in Sulphur driving to Houston, then a flight to Germany, our connection to Israel, and lastly a 2 hour drive to our hotel in Tiberius on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  The picture at the top was the sunrise taken from our balcony this Sunday morning.  Looking across the Sea of Galilee onto the Golan Heights.

Our trusty steed to cary us “across the pond” a double decker (!) Airbus A380 operated by Lufthansa.

Our real tour begins on Sunday. Saturday was just a travel day and getting settled into our rooms.  Even on such an “uneventful day” I could begin to feel the weight of our journey and pilgrimage in this sacred space.  Something as simple as driving down the road inspired rich questions and deep thoughts.  I would look out and see a hill or an open field and wonder, did Jesus walk there?  Did Jesus pray here?  What undocumented miracle or teaching might have occurred here? Could Jesus and his disciples have camped out here on their own pilgramages in this land?


A random village we passed by on our travels.  I believe the name of the city is translated as Paradise! it is about 500 years from the Mediterranean Sea of which it faces.  What really struck me was how much farm land there was and how green the country side is.  I expected it to be more desert like, which is just not the case.

By setting foot on this sacred ground, I can feel a presence, a reverence, and an attitude of worship everywhere I go.  By worship I mean having a connection with the Divine. There is an aura (for lack of a better word) here that is powerful, with a palpable spirituality, drenched in the transcendent and touched by the LORD.  This is truly a holy land.

Check in soon to see how this feeling of the almighty gets revealed as you walk with me and I add highlights from Sunday’s journey.


The Holy Land

The opportunity of a lifetime has fallen into my lap. I will be spending the next 10 days on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I will see what Jesus saw, pray where Jesus prayed, and walk where Jesus walked (except maybe on the Sea of Galilee), all while following in the footsteps of countless pilgrims who have done the same thing.

I will be there from April 21, 2017 through May 1, 2017.  I will accompany a group from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Sulfur, LA led by my friend and collegue Mother Ally Perry!

I am hoping to report and journal my trip.  So check back here to see pictures, insights, thoughts, inspirations, reflections and probably some goofs from my time there.

Please comment, share, and check back in.