April 14, 2014 (continued…)
“You’re a happy girl!”
Amer, our guide, told me this as we sat outside the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in Israel. I smiled even bigger and told him that it’s not every day you get to spend your birthday in the Holy Land!
He laughed and agreed, and went on to tell us about the incredible church we were about to enter. We talked of its history, the nature of the terrifying roads, the story of how Deborah the Prophetess conquered the Mennonites, and the Transfiguration itself.
Amer even joked that Fr. Daniel could join him for a beer overlooking the valley that was foretold to be the site of the final battle before Jesus comes.
Amer told us that saints are not dead, no matter what anyone says. Jesus encountered Elijah and Moses on this mountain and that they are real and alive, in Heaven and on earth.
The Church of the Transfiguration is stunning. Inside the top section, there is a depiction of Jesus transfigured, with the entire scene around him encased in gold and a stain-glass window right behind the altar. (My classmate) Daman described the view as “downright incredible.” It overlooks the Jezreel Valley. You could never fall more in love with a view — God’s painting clearly displayed in the Holiest of Lands.
(My classmates) Jackie, Becca and Christina were “dying” to get a closer view of the valley, and the last I saw of them, they were off looking for a monk to unlock the door to get even closer. With weather this perfect, great friends and a whole lot of Jesus, what more do you need?
To end our day, we were actually able to walk down Mount Tabor!!!! The view was just beautiful, and we took so many pictures! Everyone enjoyed the hike back to the bus, and after that we were able to get a little site-seeing in Nazareth. This day has been one of my “all-time” favorite days, and the most spectacular of birthdays. So you’re right, Amer. I am a happy girl. There’s just so much to smile about!