I have never been so low. This is the deepest depth I have ever experienced. The engulfing warmth matches the expectant desert climate.
Today I stand along the shore of the Dead Sea, 1,412 feet below sea level, the lowest landmass on Earth. Tourists bob in the briny waters that prohibit sea and plant life due to its hostile salinity. The lake’s depth and unwelcoming characteristics make it an unusual locale for people to pilgrimage. Yet, its historical significance and vast resources are precisely why thousands of people trek to this low-lying place every year.
The Dead Sea is often mentioned in Scripture. Our first introduction comes early in Genesis, described as the location of a battle involving Lot’s captivity and rescue. The Bible refers to the water basin many times for geographic reference. Other sources indicate the Dead Sea has been an attraction for thousands of years. Herod the Great made it one of the world’s first health resorts. The Egyptians used its minerals to produce products ranging from asphalt to fertilizers. Today, you will find people slapping the lake’s muddy foundation on their skin for dermatological health benefits.
The low point of this week will lead directly to the ultimate height this weekend when we turn our attention toward the heavens. On Sunday, November 6th, the church commemorates the Cloud of Witnesses. In ancient Rome, people would gaze upon the highest seats in the stadium and give pause in remembrance to those who have gone on before them. We remember our cloud of witnesses, the saints who have gone before us on All Saints Day.
We welcome you to celebrate All Saints Day at Good Shepherd this Sunday, at our spoken liturgy at 8:00 AM, our traditional worship service at 10:15 AM, or our jazz service at 6:00 PM.