Last night’s coach dropped 3200 feet from Amman to reach the lowest point in the world at the Dead Sea 1200 ft below sea level. Across the black water as we arrived, our guide pointed out the lights of Jericho, Qumran and Jerusalem. The shock was that they were not distant. Though 45 miles long, this salt lake is quite narrow and Jerusalem, over the border in Israel, is close.

This morning in shimmering heat at 8am the Sea looks as inviting as any Mediterannean resort. Not so surprising as, facing these holy sites across the pale blue water are Marriott , Movenpick, Kempinski and many more 21st century stables.

This moment contains all moments. C. S. Lewis

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It has begun. The pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A group of Christians from assorted Sussex churches leaving the green and flying to Jordan on the first stage of our 11 day journey.

Like Chaucer’s little band we mill and gather in groups learning about each other and bubbling with excitement.

Why are we going? For many it is a first and only chance to add our own dimension to the Bible. For me – a space filled with potential and a place to quieten the mind. Just to be. In the Holy Land.

A prayer from the multi faith prayer room at Heathrow
O God our father in heaven, you love each one of us, for you yourself have made us. Watch over me this day, I pray . Be with all those I love. I bring to you all those in need for whom I pray today, whatever their situation may be. May your love and your strength fill us each day so that, trusting in you, we may be able to cope with whatever life demands of us. Guard and guide us Lord, this day and always. Amen

Amman airport – the group in that state of weary excitement as passports are snatched and finally returned with artistic stamps. A long coach ride ahead but good company.