Instead of rejoicing, the people got upset. In fact, they got very upset.
“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4: 28-30)
We looked down in to the valley and realized we were standing on the very spot where the crowd wished to throw Jesus off the mountain to his death.
As the horror of that fact brought chills, they were quickly replaced by goosebumps as we turned and gazed to our left, and there standing proud and solid, was Mount Tabor, where Christ revealed his divinity to his Disciples, by appearing in the middle of the prophets Moses and Elijah. Moses had died, and Elijah had been taken up alive to Heaven upon a fiery chariot. This showed Sts. Peter, John and James, that Christ was the God of both the living and the dead. Here we stood, tired, with red eyes, thirsty and hot, and before us we envisioned the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior. Just as the Apostles were in awe, so were we.
If that was not enough, we turned a bit to our right and there, just in the nook of some unassuming hills stood the city of Nain, where Christ resurrected the widow’s son, where death crashed in to life, and life came out victorious.
Sitting now in the beautiful Legacy Hotel, overlooking the city, I am still amazed that I am really here. I gazed upon the setting sun off the balcony, to the sound of the Muslim call to prayer. Listening to the wailing and sad voice of the muezzins from various minarets, saddened me. Instead of bringing joy, they brought sorrow..that Christ revealed himself here, in the city of Nazareth, and the city knows him not.
As I sit here typing, the door to the balcony is open, and while the honking cars still persist, the birdsong has been replaced with barking dogs…and the persistent Call to Prayer.
Listening to the lonely wails echoing off the walls of my hotel room, I was re-energized and revitalized, as I jumped out of my chair and ran onto the balcony to witness that all hope is not lost. As 6 PM (11 AM EST) hit, and the prayers from the minarets had been going on for a lengthy period of time, I heard the sound of hope. Bells. Bells began to ring, louder and louder and overcame the sounds of the Adhan. It was the battle of the voices, and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation won hands down.
My first day in the Holy Land is winding down, and I cannot wait for tomorrow’s adventure. How does one sleep knowing they are in the Land where Christ walked, played, taught and lived?