Israel: Day 5

Yesterday we went to the mountain where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount
Or at least the mount that the Franciscans have built a church on and claim to be the location.
Regardless of whether it was the spot or not, Jesus wandered these hills.
And now, thousands of people wander them with cameras.

I’m not sure what I expected as I anticipated being there, but it’s safe to say that I was mildly disappointed.
Jesus’ words in the beatitudes ring of Psalm 23, which I read as one of the most peace filled Psalms.
Yesterday was anything but peaceful.
The whole time I was there, I was trying to figure out why I felt the way I did.
It’s not like I’m not a tourist with a phone in my pocket filled with pictures of Israel.
Though I didn’t take any photos of the site lest I be lumped together with the crowds.
And yes, I recognize how ridiculous this is!

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At the end of our stay at this site, we were given some time to be alone and journal…ironic I know.
But I wandered out beyond the places where all the people were and I found an olive grove.
This was my kind of “sermon on the mount” spot. It was a gentle hillside filled with olive trees.
It was relatively quiet compared to other places at this site.

I think I get why Jesus had to “get away to a quiet hillside” or retreat into the desert.
There’s something about quiet and there’s something about stillness that is required for the spiritual life.

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