In 2013 a cry went out from near the great Salt Lake
To join a pilgrimage of sorts, despite some risks to take.
To a land far away of ancient mien, they would fly
and ride and hike,
and ride and hike,
led by a band of merry souls named Karen and Ron and Mike.
An Aussie came, a Kiwi or two, some Canadians and a Brit
A bunch of Americans, of course, and two sets of sisters, to wit.
They were lawyers and doctors and writers and sages
And realtors and bankers and jacks of all traders.
But in one important aspect they did all agree
To Jerusalem they must go, and the Sea of Galilee.
Sadat took the reins when they landed in Turkey
With blue Aegean skies and the ocean not murky.
The lands round about lay in ancient ruins galore,
So they snapped and they clicked till they couldn’t anymore.
Then off to the heart of old Constantinople they journeyed,
To view the Blue Mosque and the palace next door, they hurried.
The Spice Market and Grand Bazaar were next on the docket
Where money of all kinds flew out of their pocket.
With leather and rugs and spices in tow,
The fabled isle of Patmos was the next place to go.
They hiked up the hill to the alleged address,
Where ancient John the Beloved put quill to papyrus.
And in his poetical symbolic way
Prepared those who would read it for a far better day.
Then with feet turned toward Jerusalem into Jordan they crossed,
And walked ancient Petra which the Nabataeans lost.
The carvers who labored there to worship and memorialize,
Would be rolling in their graves if allowed to realize,
That their beautiful and sacred cherished mausoleum
Was teaming with hawkers and vendors ad nauseum.
The Bedouin tents dot the hills with their camels so touching,
Till up with their diet cokes and cell phones come rushing.
From the depths of the Dead to the Galilee Seas
We followed the Jordan midst date palms and trees.
Near the river so verdant we beheld with our eyes
Water so sacred where The Son was baptized.
Tiberius and Carmel, Tabgha, Tel Dan
Were places next seen, where travelled The Man.
From Beautitudes heights, to calm Galilees banks,
We boated in darkness, in awe and with thanks.
Next on to Nazareth, they trekked through the land
And followed His footsteps, and learned of his commands.
Capernaum, so favored, where the Savior did teach,
His disciples to love God, and broaden their reach.
In Bethlehem singing brought joy to the earth,
At Nativities centre, the place of his birth.
Finally, at Jerusalem, the pilgrims arrived to
See old city and Temple Mount (the place of some strife)
The western walls prayers and Solomon’s Porch
To Antonia’s cells, sit of Jesus’s cruel scourge.
St Annes’ church so lovely, which held a surprise
French Mormons heard us singing, that Mike had baptized.
Next, our intrepid travelers, their courage to test,
Donned shorts and some sandals, Hezekiahs tunnel to best.
For the feelings they felt, their hearts barely had room,
As they visited Golgotha and the garden tomb.
With money, time and energy blown,
Soon hearts and feet turned toward home.
In many directions, each one did return
To family and loved ones, for whom they did yearn.
And with them they carried deep in their heart
A greater love for the Savior, that would not depart.
And oft in their thoughts as they lived through a day,
Their minds would wander Jerusalem way.
And oft times for the cool breeze of Galilee yearn
And hoped against hope that someday they’d return.
But maybe some will, and maybe some not,
Yet each of them harbored this singular thought:
That their time in the Holy Land had changed them a lot.
Written by Denise Murray with Assistance from Jay Rush
|Kerry & Tina Miller, Denise & Gordon Murray|
|Making silk thread at the carpet factory in Turkey|
|Baptisms in the River Jordan|
|Christian Group from Kenya|
|Dr. Michael Wilcox describing the valley|