by: Rachael Baxter, Co-Founder of Conscious Magazine
Photos by: Joel Bear, Photographer
For such a time as this. God bless Israel
We awoke to a sunrise draping the Sea of Galilee. 35 creators and innovators traveled far and wide with a purpose to create community and radiate love towards the people of Israel.
MT. OF THE BEATITUDES
Day 1 started with a walk through the Mt. of Beatitudes. As we settled into our standing spot above the Sea of Galilee, overlooking the four-mile long Plain of Gennesaret, we were reminded that the New Testament records Jesus was in this area. There we were, sharing the ground where Jesus walked, taking in the hazy views above the sea, listening to the nature sounds from birds chirping with unique trills to bees buzzing around the flowers. We have followed in His footsteps and this was our moment in history.
While mesmerized by the views, we steadied our hearts as Pastor Parker Green read the Sermon on the Mount told in Matthew 5:3-11.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Matt 5:3-11 KJV)
Pastor Parker shared how this very sermon announced the kingdom of heaven. And the Kingdom of heaven says to us, “despite class, education, appearance and the like, there is a seat at the table for all.” Amen. He continued with, “the Sermon on the Mount speaks to the deepest human need and fear: love and rejection, but as Jesus says, you are blessed if you are rejected.”
We finished with a prayer on the mount: “Thank you for your Son. Thank you for your Son…Help us to be present.”
Next, we were on our way to Capernaum, a place between stone and history. As you walk through the gates you are welcomed by the words, “Capernum, the town of Jesus”. And as you continue forward, you are a witness to the layers of destruction and ruins dating back to a 3rd century synagogue. We joined Raj, co-founder of Israel Collective, in the ruins of a synagogue, where he read John 6:32-33 “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”, He said, "Guys, Jesus said this in this very spot."
Our day continued on as we traveled to a Christian and Refugee village and met with Shadi, Founder and Chariman of IACA. Shadi is on a mission to save the Aramaic language and help integrate Christians into the Israeli society. We shared a beautiful moment when we recited the Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language.
We were joined by Eliott who studied political and military sociology and is a military analyst specializing in counterterrorism.
As we stood facing the horizon of the Syrian Border, Elliott shared of the deep conflict and human tragedy taking place among the small country. In the middle of this beautiful land is civil, religious and ethnic war. However, we feel at peace. Collectively, our perspectives are changed. Pray for Israel.
SEA OF GALILEE
Our day ended with a sail on the Sea of Galilee, a heart-shaped lake set among hills in northern Israel, it is one of the lowest-lying bodies of water on earth.
It was a celebratory evening surrounded by the deep blue hues of the water and the darkening blend of the blue-lit sky. There we were, chasing the last drop of light as the sun slowly set itself behind the mountains, setting the stage for a dreamy evening underneath Tiberias’ star packed sky.
The beauty of the Sea of Galilee is a scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history.