Two weekends ago, the J/WB YAGM 6 headed out on our fall retreat with our fearless leaders, Julie and Jeff, and our trusty van Bernadette for a few days of reflection and relaxation in the Holy Land. We had a full itinerary traveling to Nazareth and Tiberias, the region known as the Galilee, and I’d like to share a few photos with you from our time there!
This lovely photo is from our tour of the the Old City of Nazareth. We were given a tour of the Old City by Linda, a woman who has been working at the Fauzi Azar Inn, a hostel in the Old City for four and a half years. Our tour included stops in a coffee store, an amazing spice shop, and this clothing shop. Kevin and I volunteered ourselves at a local shop to be the models for some first century dress and it was so fun! It was great to get a tour that included meeting and talking to some of the local shopkeepers and not just seeing the sites.
This photo is of a mosaic from the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The Basilica is the largest church in the Middle East, which actually made me a little anxious to visit. As one of the traditional sites of the annunciation, I was expecting lots and lots of shine. Although I can appreciate the grandeur, I’m not always a fan of huge churches whose every inch is covered in gold. However, this church was not that. The courtyard of the church was almost completely surrounded by multi-cultural depictions of the Mary and Jesus. The majority of the pieces were mosaics and some of them took my breath away. Although hard to capture on a camera, I am in love with this depiction from Thailand.
One of our mornings was spent at the Sea of Galilee, with time for journaling, reflection, and taking in the peaceful sound of the water. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire retreat, it was exactly what I needed to recharge.
We also spent time at Capernaum, where Peter’s house is traditionally thought to be; Sepphoris, an ancient town where many believed the adolescent Jesus spent a lot of time; and The Mount of Beatitudes, traditionally celebrated as the site of the Sermon on the Mount, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It was a full weekend, but as a group we spent time reflecting on the context of the theologies of Jesus in light of life in the first century and how those theologies still challenge us today. I am so thankful to be surrounded by a group of thoughtful young adults and for the guidance of Jeff and Julie as we continue to navigate this year together.