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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_user_name::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/mreeder/hillsboro-ucc.org/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_filter_user_name.inc on line 143.
My Favorite Church in the Holy Land

You might be surprised by my favorite church in the Holy Land.

There are so many beautiful churches there, and I entered many of them on my recent journey.  I was especially drawn to the 'plain and simple' structures ... places like the elegant Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Dominus Flevit ("The Lord Wept") church on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha.  The Holy Land represents holiness best (in my opinion) when it keeps the churches open, simple, and a bit rugged.  Beautiful art is always welcome, but most of all I wanted to see something of Jesus in the churches I entered.

My favorite church of all, however, was the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, also located on the Sea of Galilee.  This might be surprising to some since the primacy of St. Peter is a Roman Catholic theology rather than a Protestant idea.   The long line of Popes in the Roman Catholic Church trace their calling back to Peter, the "rock" upon which the Risen Christ promised to build his church.

The church is simple, powerful, and ruggedly rocky.  But the reason it is my favorite has to do with the shoreline upon which it sits.  This place which tradition identifies as the setting where Jesus called his first disciples, launched boats to sail upon the Sea of Galilee, and appeared to the disciples to cook breakfast following his resurrection most significantly of all features the open beach, the water which continues to lap upon that beach, the 'sand' which turns out to be millions of tiny shells.  After entering so many churches in the Holy Land, this shoreline took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. 

It was there that I felt the Risen Christ.  It was there that I renewed my vow to be his disciple.  My heart was full and Christ's Spirit was abundantly present.  Thanks be to God.

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