Our first few days in the Holy Land granted us full and beautiful access to the Mount of the Beatitudes Church, the guest house located on the property and the incredible landscape. For each of the days we stayed at the guest house, Lou-Kevin and Jay -- the cameramen -- and myself would get up at 5:00 am in order to capture shots of the sun rising from the other side of the Sea of Galilee. It was a majestic vista, providing an incredible view of one the most ordinary things in world: the dawn of a new day. Of course, it is cliche to mention now how we don't take nearly enough advantage of enjoying God's creation (especially at that ungodly hour!), but the cliche holds true: it is usually in the most ordinary, simple things where we find the splendour, the wonder and the sheer magnificence of being human. The joy of being made in the image and likeness of God as a steward of His created, natural world.
Perhaps the most arresting thing of being atop the hill at that time was the sound of the animals. Birds, mostly, but it was as if a whole exotic zoo were laid out in front of us; invisible, but allowing us a privileged audience to their impromptu symphony. There were so many individual calls that I had never heard before -- shrills and caws and tweets -- that I will probably never hear again, yet the echo of which resonates in my memory. Moreover, it helps to hear Jesus' words from the Gospel alongside the soundtrack of those birds and animals in the background, since this helps me realize that there is no difference, really, from the time Jesus walked the earth to now. In truth, there is no difference in the lessons and the people who surrounded Jesus, yearning to hear Him amongst the flora and fauna of that time, then there is in the people who live to hear His message today, wherever they may reside.
Mount of the Beatitudes - View of the Church of the Beatitudes