I hope that my fellow Orthodox Christians have a beneficial Lent, and I wish Western Christians a merry Shrove Tuesday before their beginning of the fast.
Last year, National Geographic Entertainment released Jerusalem as an IMAX film. Below is a gorgeous trailer for the film:
When I see pictures or footage of the holy land, I thank God for having had the opportunity to visit it. Ever since, I do not hear or read scriptural passages without recalling scenes from the trip. I have a visual context for the mountain of the Lord. I remember the feel of the waves while wading in the Lake of Gennesaret by Capernaum—how beautifully strange it was to sit on the beach where Andrew was first called. I looked upon the world from the Mount of Temptation, though I had already been well accustomed by Hollywood to see the world through Satan’s eyes. I climbed over ruins of the mankind’s oldest city. I saw fruit orchards in verdant valleys and barren hills in lonely deserts. I even visited my (great-great- . . . -great) grandfather’s old place in Hebron and stopped by to pay my respects at the family tomb. Indeed, the whole Israeli experience was like meeting well known but never met family members for the first time. A cherished journey—a pilgrimage.