Sunday, March 16, 2014

I had never been up Mount Tabor and wasn't all that interested, either.

Our tour guide made use of a minivan taxi service from the base of the mountain, each car seating about 13 passengers. He had cautioned us that if there was a line, we could forget it. There was no line but the people in charge were expecting a rush that Friday afternoon, so our guide hurried us into the taxi cars.

It was right after a huge lunch at a Lebanese place and the minivans were stuffy. Up a sharp incline and all the road switchbacks, I thought I could become nauseous. It was a longer ride than I expected but I got through.

In an open bit of lawn near the upper parking lot was gathered a crowd of people blaring loud music and dancing. Our tour guide told them they were supposed to be quiet out of respect for the holy place, that they weren't allowed to carry on as they were.

We visited the site. I'm sure our guide told us all about Deborah and Barak and Sisera and Jael from Judges 4 and 5, a fascinating story the first few times you read it. But Transfiguration images predominate inside the church and that story became my focus.

Mass was going on when we arrived, so we were herded into one of the two smaller rooms, the one dedicated to Moses. The other is dedicated to Elijah. Saint Peter got his wish after all! Notice, Moses has horns. The story of Elijah versus the prophets of Baal has become my son's favorite.

Someone in our group got into trouble for picking a sizable branch from an olive tree in a nearby garden. I was appalled that anyone would. Then my son showed me a tiny, tiny lemon he'd plucked. Periodically, he'd scratch the exterior for its refreshing scent. The view was awesome. I must correct my opinion that Israel has no true mountains.

We gathered at the upper taxi stand for the trip down and our guide cautioned us against accepting anything from the Muslims who were near the parking lot handing out free Korans. They were very polite initially but as we walked by ignoring them, they began to shout things I've heard before: that the Bible says nobody can serve two masters, that Jesus never instructs anyone to worship him - that he, in fact, says the opposite - and, that the Gospel tradition has been corrupted over time.

Somehow I was slow getting to the taxis and they all filled up. It was only myself, the tour guide and Deacon Tom. Our tour guide turned back and began shouting at the Muslims, countering what they were saying. I'm not the type of person to get into a confrontation in public but I found the exchange interesting to observe. During the taxi ride down, the guide admitted that he had to say something to them, as they were speaking against Christ. Admirable enough. As we turned onto the main road, I spotted a man on his bicycle just beginning his ascent. I mentally wished him a heartfelt Godspeed.

Back at the hotel, shabbat candles were available in the lobby and the elevator confused us all. After dinner, the monsignor heard my confession.

Shabbat candles

cf. Mount of Transfiguration - Wiki

1 comment:

Colleen said...

You are bringing back memories of my trip. I think we had that same mini taxi service!