Friday, January 31, 2020

Worship into the Week- Follow

Worship into the Week-
Matthew 4: 12-22
Jesus Begins His Ministry

John has been arrested 
and Jesus withdraws into Galilee.
He leaves Nazareth 
and goes to Capernaum.
The Sea of Galilee at Capernaum

He lives as a great light in the darkness.
He begins to preach-
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
He calls Peter and Andrew, the fishermen,
  to follow him.
They respond immediately.
He calls James and John. 
Immediately they left their boat and 
followed HIM.

Story started- without an introduction.
 What an ultimate life-changing 
event for a group of people.
The life before and the life after....
Lord, mend my ways to see you
 in the call of my daily life.
May I set aside my agenda 
and as the Spirit moves...

Visual Faith Church Year Printable
Water paintbrush
Washi tape
Junk Mail
Magazine cutouts

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Old Jaffa- Israel Pilgrimage

Old City Jaffa is today a part of Tel Aviv
 on the Mediterranean Coast.
Some things here don't seem like city life
 as you walk along the streets.
Some things show the patina of age.
In our six trips to Israel this 
was the first time we had the time frame 
to get out and walk the streets of Old Jaffa.
(Joppa in the New Testament)
St. Peter's Catholic Church was constructed 
in its present location because of the significance
 that Jaffa has to Christianity. 
It is located on a hill near the shore
 to serve as a beacon to pilgrims 
that the Holy Land is near. 
The church was built in 1654 
over a medieval citadel 
that was erected by Frederick I
 and restored by Louis IX of France
 at the beginning of the 13th century.
In the late 18th century the church
 was twice destroyed and then twice rebuilt. 
The current structure was built between 
1888-1894 and most recently renovated in 1903.
 The House of Simon the Tanner-
who hosted Peter.
This is where Peter raised Tabitha from the dead 
and saw his famous vision in which he was commanded
 to eat animals regarded as unclean in Jewish tradition. 
From this vision he began to forgo the Jewish laws 
and to preach Christianity to Jews and pagans alike.
A stop in Jaffa brings us to 
Jonah and the whale.
 This sculpture commemorates
 that Biblical story.

A walk along the coastal street was
steeped in history and charm.
A small cafe was a step back in time 
with great food and cordial hosts.
The history of Cafe Basma.
The rain was rolling in but
 we loved our stop here on the coast to visit 
Old City Jaffa.

Biblical stories referenced found in Acts 10
 and the book of Jonah.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Visual Faith- Holy Land Journaling

A recent trip to Israel allowed some time 
for journaling and connecting 
to the Scriptures that match 
the geography of the journey.
 This is the story of the healing of the man
 at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.
Writing Scripture and praying for God
 to work in my heart through these words. 
 The demon possessed man 
in the land of the Gerasenes.
The blind man healed in Jericho.
The calling of the disciples at Lake Gennesaret.
The miracle of water into wine at Cana.

Reading the story right
"in the vicinity of"....
To see what the connecting dots
 are that help make sense of simple words.
Resting in the place of setting,
moving through a timeline,
to see the outline.
And answer the question- 
what does it mean for me?

Colored pencils
Fine-Point Sharpie pen
Washi tape
NIV Noteworthy New Testament 
(2008 Zondervan-unavailable) 

Update- 8-25-21-----newly published-

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Worship into the Week- Messiah

Worship into the Week-
 John 1: 29-42
Behold the Lamb of God
Jesus Calls the First Disciples

John the Baptist continues to bear witness
 that Jesus is the Christ.
 He tells others what he has seen and heard.
This is the Son of God.
He saw the Spirit descend and remain on Jesus.
Then he begins the transition 
of his own followers to Jesus.
This results in two disciples who 
stop following John and start following Jesus. v. 37
John begins to fade from the scene.
He has fulfilled his calling.
Messiah- which means Christ,
begins to gather those
 for the ministry purpose before them.

Visual Faith Ministry printable
Colored pencils
Junk mail
Magazine cutouts
Tag and ribbon
Fine-point permanent Sharpie

Friday, January 24, 2020

Tel Shiloh- 2

Shiloh was the ancient city in Samaria 
from the Old Testament and located today
 in the West Bank- 10 miles north of Bethel.
Shiloh was the major Israelite worship center 
before the first Temple was built in Jerusalem.

Long before the advent of the Israelites, 
Shiloh was a walled city with a religious shrine or sanctuary 
during Middle and Late  Bronze Age Canaan. 
When the Israelites arrived in the land, 
they set up there the ancient wilderness tent shrine. 
There Joshua and  Eleazar divided the land among the tribes
who had not yet received their allocation  Joshua 18:1-10.
 and dealt with the allocation of cities 
to the Levites- Joshua 21:1-8.
Subsequently, Shiloh became one of the leading
 religious shrines in ancient Israel, 
a status it held until shortly 
before David's elevation of  Jerusalem.
(photo from The Holy Land by John Beck)

Shiloh is connected to the stories 
of Joshua, Hannah, Samuel and Eli.
Though it might be challenging to picture
 this from the ruins today, it was a significant site.
Shiloh was one of the main centers of Israelite worship 
 by virtue of the presence 
there of the Tent Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant. 
The people made Pilgrimages there for major feasts and sacrifices, 
and Judges 21 records the place 
as the site of an annual dance of maidens among the vineyards.
Beautiful vineyards 
still surround the excavated location.
Later history is told in the Byzantine churches.

This inscription is significant 
as it mentions the site as Shiloh.

The recently uncovered mosaics
(some  2013)
 are a beautiful reminder of the artistry here.
The Ark of the Covenant was here 
and was lost to the Philistines.
Eli mismanaged his family 
and lost the heritage of faithfulness
 in his worthless sons.
But, in this very place-
God met His people
and brought to them His presence.
God still seeks to be present with us
 in our everyday lives.
A map to help locate Shiloh. Videos and teaching materials here are helpful.
There is a significant plan
 to build an event center here.
There was no set up of the Tabernacle
 during our visit in January 2020 but are told 
that is part of a summer visit.
It seems like there is also significant updates
 for parts of the exhibit. 
Media centers are good and helpful.
(You need to tell them at the visitors center 
to play the movie in English and they give you a time for that.)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Tel Shiloh- Hannah's Prayer

There is much to see at Tel Shiloh.
But, some of the things we had heard about---
like a replica of the Tabernacle were not there on this 
 overcast and sometimes rainy, Winter day.
 There are a couple of proposed sites]
 for the layout of the Tabernacle.
Here is one that fits the dimensions- 
with more recent ruins on the site.
 The lands around Tel Shiloh are 
beautiful vineyards and terraced olive groves.
Another post will tell more about this site-
today I have been reflecting on Hannah's Prayer.
 It is LIFE SUNDAY today-Jan 19, 2020- 
in many of our Lutheran Churches.
Marches have happened in 
various places in the United States.
So this is my focus today...
1 Samuel 1:1-2:11

The heartbreak of the childless Hanna.
 She came to the temple of the Lord in Shiloh to pray.
She vowed to the Lord that if he
 granted her request of a son 
she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life.
Eli thought she had been drinking and questioned her.
But she replied that she was "troubled in spirit."
Then Eli gave her a blessing:
 "Go in peace and the God of Israel 
grant your petition that you have made of him."
Hannah conceived by her husband Elkanah
 and she kept the baby until he was weaned
 and then brought him back to 
Shiloh to Eli to serve in the Tabernacle.
She blessed the Lord with prayer 
and Samuel served the Lord 
and became a great prophet of the Lord.

a prayer for today:
Dear Heavenly Father, 
we lift up all the women who yearn 
to be blessed with a child of their own. 
We lift up all the women 
who have suffered the great loss 
of miscarriage before their child was born.
We lift up all the women 
who have ended the life of a child
 and live with this deep loss, in shame and grief.
We lift up all the men who have walked
 in all of these challenges with women in their lives.
Bring healing to all the hearts, 
grant restoration in relationships, 
and hope to the souls.
 Lord, we ask a special fullness of Peace
  on this Life Sunday,
that your grace will allow hearts
 to see the sanctity of all life given by your hand.
In the name of Jesus. Amen

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Mount Arbel- Israel Pilgrimage

Mount Arbel-
 from Nof Ginnosaur- in the Galilee
(January 2014)
 I have wanted to drive up to the 
top of this mountain ever since then.
Here is the story for this adventure:
Part One.
We have WAZE on the car. 
Amy speaks to us in English,
but you have to add the site in Hebrew.
We got to many places 
that were NOT Mount Arbel.
 We finally arrived at 3:10 pm 
and the guard at the gate said- 
"We are closed."
"But, the webpage said you are open till 4 pm."
"Yes, but that is now for you."
"Come back tomorrow."
 And he took the goats down the road.
 So we went to look at the synagogue.

  We looked at the nearby cliffs,
and thought about the people
 that worshiped here long ago.
 Part Two.
Since we didn't really know 
how we got there the first time, 
we attempted to drop imaginary bread crumbs
 to find it the second time.
We arrived about 10 am and hiked to the top.
 This was my long awaited view of the Sea of Galilee 
from the top of Mount Arbel.
 A peak over the edge.
 "Another" view
And another.
We greeted the lone carob tree at the Carob Lookout-
the last of the many that use to flourish here.
From this lookout on a good day-
 you CAN see the Sea of Galilee, 
the Golan Heights, Mount Hermon 
and the eastern Upper and Lower Galilee.
 So we came down and 
read a bit about the history.

Then we did what anyone does
 to mark the visit in this circumstance.......
 We took photographs of the lovely photos
 in the Visitor Center
of what we would have seen, 
if we could have seen the view.

Thanks Shimi Anav Photography.
A view of a valley on the way back
 down from the mountain-
until we try again someday.

A bit more information:
The Arbel plateau is a basalt highland.
The highest point on the cliff is 
181 meters above Sea Level.
The Nature reserve here is home to 
mountain gazelle, wolves, hyenas,
 badgers, and martens. 
Families of hyrax inhabit the cliffs 
and bats hide there during the day.
The rock crevices are the only place
 on earth for a small snail-
Cristataria genezerethana.
Griffon vultures were identified here
and the cliffs and crevices 
are home to rare plants in the centauria, 
rosularia and galium families.