Trip to the Holy Land

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Carolyn Moon

By Carolyn Moon, Kirkland, Washington, United States

This spring I joined the group of Urantia Book readers that went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We wanted to experience something of the time and place of the Master's life on Urantia. At almost every place we visited, we shared and discussed pertinent readings in The Urantia Book, which deepened our experiences.

This trip was not about staying at the best hotels, dining in the best restaurants, or enjoying the present-day culture. It was about walking where Jesus walked and feeling and comprehending more fully the meaning of his life and teachings.

The trip was organized by Diane Labrecque of the United Urantia Family Foundation in Québec, Canada, and Gabriel Rymberg of Nazareth, Israel, the chief translator of the Hebrew translation. Participants came from Canada, Finland, and the United States. For five days, we stayed at a French monastery on the Mount of Olives. The view of Jerusalem was breath taking! I never tired of looking at it. It was our home as we explored important places in and around Jerusalem. And for six days, as we explored places in Galilee that were important in Jesus’ life, we stayed in Tiberius at the YMCA, which overlooked the Sea of Galilee. Almost all our meals were from these venues including our lunches, which we brought with us on our day trips.

Throughout our trip, as we rode in an air-conditioned bus, I kept thinking: "Jesus walked! He walked here, everywhere, many times." I had no idea the land was so hilly, even mountainous. When we left Jerusalem and went down to the Dead Sea and thence to Jericho, we observed that the Judean hills are stark and desolate. Maybe they were more lush in Jesus’ day. Jericho to Bethany was one day's walk. No wonder they had many of their conversations while they were walking or resting along the way. We also traveled to Mt. Hermon, which was a rather long drive up to the northern part of Israel; Jesus walked there several times with his disciples.

We sat at the site of the Capernaum synagogue (more recently the ruins of a Roman temple) and remembered that this was where Jesus preached many times. Also, we stood on a high hill in Nazareth―perhaps the hill up to which Jesus and his father liked to hike and from which they could see many surrounding places. And how thrilling it was to sail on the Sea of Galilee, this same sea which the Master knew so well!

I was very interested in a scale model of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple (when Jesus lived) because I had never been able to visualize what "going up to the Temple" was like. I saw how the Temple totally dominated the city at the time. I also found it helpful to visit "Nazareth Village," which is an open air museum in Nazareth that reconstructs and reenacts village life in Galilee in the time of Jesus. The buildings are being built using only tools that were available then. We were treated to a Passover meal there.

Along with all that we saw in Israel, we had the experience of living and studying together, of feeling like a family, and of imagining what it must have been like to be one of Jesus' disciples.

Our trip to the Holy Land I shall always remember and cherish. I think that all of us experienced an expansion of our cosmic consciousness and an enhancement of our spiritual perception.

Carolyn Moon and Gabriel Rymberg
Carolyn Moon and Gabriel Rymberg

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