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November 2, 2011
I lift up my eyes to the hills–from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, whom made
heaven and earth.   Psalm 121
LIFTED UP: Our pilgrim band was lifted up three times.   Most of us lifted off from
Huntsville, Atlanta, and finally (all 14 of us) from New York City.  We landed in Tel Aviv at 2:00pm.  There we were joined with others who
will be touring with us.  They
swelled the group to over 40.  We
met our guide, Hillel Kessler, and got on the bus to Tiberius.
TO THE HILLS: I am writing from the Royal Plaza hotel
perched on a hillside above the Sea of Galilee.  On the way here Hillel pointed out the hill named Mt. Carmel
where Elijah and the prophets of Baal dueled (I Kings 18).  And, with darkness falling he pointed
to the lights of the city crowning a hilltop which likely prompted Jesus to
say, “You are the light of the world. 
A city built on a hill cannot be hid.”  Tomorrow morning we begin on the Mount of the Beatitudes:
the traditional site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
OUR HELP COMES FROM THE LORD:  That certainly is evident in the safe travels, the stories
that ooze from this land, and the kind people who have brought us thus far on
our journey.
Our guide Hillel opened his Bible for the first time to read
and said, “I like to read this Psalm as groups of pilgrims arrive in the Holy
Land because I think it is a fitting way to begin.”   Then he read Psalm 121.  This moved me deeply because at my father’s funeral on
Monday the Bible passage written on the memorial folder and read in the service
of worship was Psalm 121.  Indeed, in life and in death our help comes
from the Lord