What you said:
A ‘Mini-Lourdes’ in North Wales
A Spiritual Shack in the Woods
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A Hill Near the Hand of God
The World as a Sacred Spot
Singing on the Sea of Galilee
Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
The US—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
Gratitude in Cambodia

The World is Her Sacred Place
When I graduated from college in 1969, I was very fortunate in that my mother, a phenomenal woman and traveler, arranged for me and my sister Lynette to accompany her on a wonderful trip to Europe and the Middle East. The first country we journeyed to was Portugal; coming from New York City at the time, I marveled at the cleanliness of the City of Lisbon.

At 6 a.m., when we got up to travel to the Costa do Sol, people were already cleaning streets and washing windows. Residents saw it as a sacred place… a place to be cherished. In Madrid and Toledo, Spain we saw paintings by Spanish masters like Goya and Velazquez. In Rome, I felt the presence of the many that had died and lived defending their beliefs. When we reached Israel, again it was clear that I was in a sacred place where many of the people I had read about in Sunday school had actually lived—Moses and Abraham, Ruth and Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, John and Mary, Mathew, Mark, Luke the physician, and Jesus.We traveled all over the country, first up north in Haifa, then Jaffa. We went to Golan Heights, part of Syria, to the mouth of the Jordan River. Like the spiritual, the cold river "chills the body, but not the soul." Mommy baptized herself in the Jordan because it's where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. In Jerusalem, my sister and I walked the streets, singing, “Where Jesus Walked.” And we visited many sacred spots there including the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, and the last standing wall of King Solomon’s Temple. I placed a prayer note there.

Finally, we went to Bethlehem and Nazareth, saw the Dead Sea, and then visited Tel Aviv, where I swam in the Mediterranean Sea and bought earrings made by a Yemenite woman.

–Sherry Tucker Brown

Singing on the Sea of Galilee
The day I got on a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, there were many other visitors to Israel from all over the world. People began singing and it was such a familiar song that nearly everyone joined in no matter the language they spoke. It was a beautiful time of exciting bonding.

Then, as the English-speaking person, I was asked to read the portion of the Bible about Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. Each language took their turn; I read last. Just as I was finishing, what had been very calm, glassy water turned choppy and strong wind suddenly came up. It must have been unusual because our Israeli guide who had taken this journey many times became quite ill with motion sickness.

I personally tend to have a very light stomach, but it was like Jesus was on that boat with us and I was not only calm, but felt so blessed for this unique experience. We reached the other side, where Jesus fed the thousands with five loaves and two fishes. We sat on the hill watching the Sea of Galilee calm once again.

I had seen exactly what Jesus' disciples were so afraid of—the wind and choppy sea. Once it was calm, I could more clearly see Him walking on water.

–Marcia Crew

 

What you said:
A ‘Mini-Lourdes’ in North Wales
A Spiritual Shack in the Woods
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A Hill Near the Hand of God
The World as a Sacred Spot
Singing on the Sea of Galilee
Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
The US—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
Gratitude in Cambodia

Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
I stood on what is called sacred ground on Flank Road, in Fredericksburg, Va. I was told by a Civil War historian that on the very spot that I was standing people claim to hear screams of the soldiers who died in this bloody battle once a year on its anniversary.

His words didn’t affect me; it was a beautiful, sunny day and the story wasn’t believable to me. However, as I walked among the trees and noticed the still apparent trenches around the field, I bent down and touched the ground and said a prayer for those whose bones had never been unearthed.

The grass was dry when I placed my hand upon it, and when I removed it from the place I had rested it to pray the grass appeared dewy—for about a foot around the area—as if tears had welled up from the ground.

Perhaps those spirits don’t rest as they should, maybe they do wail, still crying out in thankfulness for being tenderly remembered.

–Pam Malafronte

The U.S.—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
In the 1950's and 60's I was in the Air Force, stationed in Okinawa and later in Korea. I had my most life-changing time in Korea; in 1957 in Okinawa, my religious experience began.

People in this country cannot believe that people actually live the way they do although they see it on television. We have such a high standard of living (even at the lowest levels) that we find it inconceivable. I have never returned to those places but I have often had reflective moments of the people there living in pole houses (one room) on the edge of a rice paddy.

They rise at sun-up, have a bowl of rice and tea, and climb down to work all day in the paddy. The lucky ones had an ox to pull the plows but most often the humans were the ox. Pregnant women worked until they give birth and strapped the new born on their backs and continued working.

Ever since, I have believed the United States to be the biblical Promised Land.

–"WILPOPS"

Gratitude in Cambodia
There are some moments that break your heart open a breath wider. That is what happened when I visited Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

I saw spectacular sites, but more deeply, I came to see the beauty, grace, and generosity of Cambodia and its people. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia and its history is scarred with many bitter struggles up to the recent genocide of Pol Pot’s regime. We held out U.S. bills to give the poverty-stricken children.

As we gave bills to them, what struck me was not one child ever took anything… they didn’t try to grab and snatch. Before they took what was offered, every single child would put their hands together in prayer, in namaste, and say, "I wish for you a happy life."

This wish came from the depths and souls of children who have nothing, not even shoes, wishing for you happiness, long life, success in your business, comfort in your home.

–Cora Wen


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