For Sabbath , we went to the branch in Tiberias. The church really enjoys beautiful views, and this chapel is no exception. The little rented building is set on a hillside and overlooks the whole Sea! It was beautiful. It was a beautiful meeting, and there were some really great messages that were shared. There were two things I thought were pretty special. Number one: for sacrament prayer over the bread, the young man said it in Hebrew! It’s normal for the members of the branch to pray or speak in their native languages, and he has lived all his life in Israel, so naturally his native tongue is Hebrew. It was just so interesting because obviously, Hebrew is inextricably tied with Judaism, so it was cool to hear it in a completely Christian setting. Second cool thing: as the last speaker was closing their remarks, a huge storm came over the sea. Because of the placement of the Sea of Galilee, it is a crossroads for hot and cool air and all sorts of climate changes, so storms can hip up at a moment’s notice. The sea became completely clouded over and it was raining sheets and sheets. Now this would just be an interesting weather report, but for the closing hymn we sang “Master the Tempest is Raging.”
“Master the tempest is raging, the billows are tossing high. The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness, no shelter or help is nigh. Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep when each moment so madly is threatening a grave in the angry deep? The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: Peace, be still. Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea or demons or men or whatever it be, no waters can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies. They all shall sweetly obey they will: Peace, be still, peace, be still. They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace, peace, be still."It was such an awesome moment to be singing this all together, overlooking this huge torrent on the Sea of Galilee. I am continued to be amazed at how real the stories of the bible become as I am here and experience the things that Jesus and the apostles might have experienced. After church we headed to Yardenit, which is a part of the Jordan River. This is actually the site where one of our professors, Dr. Ludlow, was baptized when he was 8! He came here as a faculty child when his dad taught at the JC back in the day, and he turned 8 while they lived here and got baptized. It was a lovely river, though it’s very commercialized now (something I’ve just learned to ignore). One thing I like about Yardenit is that they have all of these tile plaques that quote the scripture of Christ’s baptism in tons of different languages, from Aramaic to Spanish to Fang (I’ve never heard of this last one either). I like this because it’s a reminder that Christ came as an example and Savior to all nations, tongues, and people, and that we are all children of our Heavenly Father.