MOST RECENT POSTS

In this column you will find the most recent posts unless you have selected a specific poem, meditation or collection/index in which case that single item will appear here.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

HOLYLAND PILGRIMAGE: Day 9 Leaving Galilee, Carmel and Elijah, Joppa


We leave Tiberias climbing sharply and getting views of Galilee alternately on each side of the coach. The now familiar prayer for the area and for the day occupying much of our ascent. Everyone is pleased that Ali is again driving us.

We soon descend into the Plain of Jezreel known as the bread-basket of the region. We pass a turn for the Bedouin Soldier Memorial, a reminder that Bedouins will fight with Israeli forces. The Carmel Hills are soon visible and Ali points out the hilltop monastery we are headed for. But before that, a drive through Haifa which slowly, slowly, winds through Downtown where much reconstruction is taking place. Then a turn uphill takes us to a hilltop viewpoint that overlooks the second most sacred Bahai shrine, gold domed and surrounded by beautifully laid out gardens.

Property, much of it new, seems to be creeping its way up Mount Carmel but eventually gives way to something like heathland as we approach the Muhraqa Carmelite Monastery that is located onthe site of Elijah's victory over the prophets of Baal. We hear the story as we approach and pray to resist the idols in our own lives. Stunning views from the balcony of the Monastery but there are loud unidentifiable explosions in the distance which remind us once again of the fragility of peace in the Holy Land today (might have been quarrying or military exercises but impossible to know: however none of our guides seemed alarmed and they have been consistently careful for our safety.) 

On the way down our attention is drawn to Druze communities before we mingle with the traffic of Tel Aviv with its modern and fast-developing seafront with Jaffa (Joppa) at its far end. Joppa was historically the port of the area out of which has grown the more important and more secular town of Tel Aviv. (Jerusalem prays and Tel Aviv plays). But we are bound for Joppa from where Peter was called to Caesarea and our last lunch together as we then head to the airport.

This 9 day pilgrimage account has perhaps Been more of a travelogue -but even achieving that has been demanding when working with the difficulty of right compensation of every note. Over the next few days/ weeks, I will endeavour to amplify these notes with the Bible readings we have listened to at each stop: all the readings were supported by appropriate and frequently poignant prayers. With guides well attuned to the political situation in Israel, I guess it can hardly be otherwise.

Many thanks to McCabe Pilgrimages, The Revd Mauren Allchin, our principal guide and Bishop Stephen of Ely for a thoroughly memorable twelve days in all and to also Saeed, our remarkably well-informed and Biblically literate Palestinian Christian co-leader. There was a final marvel of this trip. The evening of a bank holiday Sunday is a remarkable time to fly into Heathrow; it was amost completely deserted. Ben, our fellow-pilgrim who has a Nigerian passport and therefore expected that we would have to wait for him before the bus could leave, amost literally strolled through passport control, as did the rest of us. Indeed, no queue at all, straight to the passport officer's booth and through. Amazing!

Hopefully, some further poetry will flow out from this time in the Land of Our Lord as the memories arise when looking at photos, of which those on this blog are but a tiny fraction.

You may also like to read A Further Day in Tiberias

A poetic postscript At Galilee
Day 7 including reflection on Transfiguration and the Golan Heights
OR
Return to main Pilgrimage Index for further reflections and index of poems arising from the pilgrimage

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'