How so very strange to have old memories that go way back in time to rooms with high windows and desks in rows and the smell of chalk. How peculiar to conjure up visions and facts about myths and Zeus and Roman gods. How startling to suddenly find myself in the very concrete place of their essence. My guide said we were going to the Temple of Pan. As a tourist, I surrender myself to new places and new things. Pan? Pan was a drawing from an eighth grade textbook, a man with the features of a goat. He was a creature who played some sort of flute and represented the wild, nature, fertility, mischief, and spring. He wasn’t real but something very vivid I had memorized for the test on mythology at the end of a chapter.
The setting was right. We walked along the edge of the water. A fitting place for a wild creature of the outdoors. It turned out to be a spring, the source of the River Jordan. I was enchanted.
And we came upon something huge and impressive, the remains of the Sanctuary of Pan.
How surreal on that blue sky, amber lit day to so clearly witness what was left of 19 BC place of worship built by the Herod to honor Caesar Alexander and the Roman gods.
The Romans of this time worshiped many different gods, almost all with a connection to nature. Their practices were pagan and by today’s standards very crude.
I wonder, now that I am back home in supposedly a civilized modern environment, was God at The Sanctuary of Pan. I was taught during my Catholic upbringing that God is everywhere and has been since the beginning of time. If an old woman, just like me, had sat by the the spring that fed The Jordan River back then in 19BC, would God be with her or would He decide she didn’t count because she didn’t worship in the right way?
I wonder about the ancient Native Americans who said prayers of thankfulness instead of petitions of want. Was God with them or did He think they were too primitive?
I wonder about my Muslim friend in India, Rashid, who told me we are all united by the God who created us all. Is God with him or has He chosen to dismiss Rashid’s method of worship?
I wonder about my gay friends who have lovingly married their partners. Is God with them or is He withholding His love because of their love?
I wonder about people in other political groups or countries. Is God with them or is God a political creature who takes sides?
I wonder about myself, an old lady without a religion who has done a lot of bad things and will probably do more. Is God with me or has He given up because He sees me as unworthy?
Like the old lady who sat by the source of The Jordan river before the birth of Christ, I, too, look for God.
In the stillness, I find Him. He is always here. He is with me. He chooses to be with us no matter who we are.
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6 thoughts on “Israel-The Temple of Pan and the Dancing Goats”
I do not have even a small tiny bit of the historical knowledge that you have, nor will I ever. However, I totally agree that God is everywhere and he knows who each and every one of us are, no matter what we believe, no matter our lifestyle, no matter what. He knows our hearts and he knows us as people. That’s what matters to God.
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Terry, I’m learning all the time. It gives me great comfort to know He loved an old lady like me who sat by a spring worrying like we all do. She wasn’t special or powerful but just a simple human being and He cared for her even though she wasn’t Christian or rich or computer literate. This unconditional love makes me strong and I’m very grateful. Hope to see you on the 20 at our luncheon, my friend.
Good article! I’m glad that you are writing during your convalesence!
I think that I am lucky to have been raised by two very moral parents without organized religion. As an adult now, I can form my own religious ideas without any guilt or hang ups from being raised in a formal religion that I rejected.
God.is everywhere, but, to me, he ( she? It?) Is an energy source in all !iving things that should be respected. We are doing the moral thing by treating the earth and everything on it with respect and kindness. Pretty simplistic, isn’t it? I’m sure many people need more.
Hope you are healing well! I’ll call again soon.
Thanks, Chris. Putting my time to good use!
I’ve been to this locale and thought, too, about the temple of Pan, the dancing goats, the clear, cold spring that runs along the base of the mountain shrines. In one hour I get to preach on the remarkable moment when Jesus, resting at this ancient site, called his apostles to build up a movement in he world to counter the gates of the netherworld of Pan and the other gods. Thank you for your thoughts about this place and the presence of the true God, immanent everywhere.
Blessings on you and your readers.
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So good to hear from you. Last night I sat surronded by the snow covered rocks shown in the last picture of this post. The scene is green l now. I listened to the song “You Lift Me Up.” “You lift me up so I can stand on mountains. You lift me up to walk on stormy seas. You rise me up to be more that I can be.” This automomous traveler, this woman without a religion cried tears of joy and gratitude. God has been my constant companion. He is so good to me. I believe in His love and never failing inclusion of all people. God bless you, my friend. Thank you so much for following my blog. I look forward to hearing from you again.