|From Holy Land|
The Church of the Annunciation was established at the site where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place (the angel telling Mary she was going to have a baby). Greek Orthodox tradition holds that this event occurred while Mary was drawing water from a local spring in Nazareth, and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation was erected at that alternate site.
We ended up visiting both sites and each site had its own holy feel to it. Regardless of if the Annunciation actually happened at either site, it is highly likely that Mary spent time there (as I said before Nazareth was/is a small town).
One of the beautiful things about this Church is the artwork in and around the building. Countries from all over the world have sent mosaics, paintings and sculptures depicting the Annunciation. It was great to see Mary in so many different cultural contexts. It really proved to me that the Gospel is for everyone.
But with all these pictures of Mary, I was drawn to the painting behind the upstairs altar that seemed so out of place. Here is what looked like a painting of Jesus' Baptism. There are two men obviously standing in a river and a dove overhead. What caught my eye is that it looks like Mary is crowned behind them sitting on a throne and shooting us the bird. Now I'm sure that she's either pointing to heaven or has her hands in one of those holy positions that protestants don't know much about. Regardless her presence in the photo kind of creeped me out.
The other thing I found odd about this painting was the All Seeing Eye. I immediately thought of the DaVinci Code and the symbolism it referred to in the book. Was Dan Brown right? Maybe it is all some big cover-up! (BTW you can look up the Eye of Providence on wikipedia and dis-spell that myth)
Finally there is one other gem in this photo that got me in trouble. From far away, it looks like Jesus (or the one I'm assuming is Jesus) is holding a rosary. When I looked at it much later in my photo, I saw that it resembles more of a double or archbishops cross than anything else. In any case he's obviously holding something. I called over a colleague whose first name starts with J and last name rhymes with "immons" and we pondered on how odd it is for Jesus to hold a cross of any kind at his Baptism and just how odd this photo was in this wonderful and holy place. I guess our ponderings got a little too loud because we where "SSHHHHHHHed" quite openly and again I felt like I needed to leave yet another shrine of the Holy Land.
Later that night my friends and I went down to the hot springs near our hotel. There is a spa at the hot springs but a spring outside of it that we put our feet in. Someone came along and told us to come back as paying customers.
That made three times in one day. I guess the All Seeing Eye really is representative of the Trinity and was just having a little fun with me. I really enjoyed my first day of sight seeing and couldn't wait to get started on my next day.
Until Everyone Hears,