Assault on St. Catherine's

After taking the flights from Dubai to Cairo and from Cairo to Sharm El Sheik, and then the 2½ hour drive into the barren Sinai desert surrounded by equally barren and rugged hills, my one thought made me feel guilty: If the Israelites wandered 40 years in this, no wonder they grumbled.

But with a destination like St. Catherine's monastery, it was worth every effort. There is no other place on the planet you can visit that transports you as far back into redemptive history. For here we have the place where, second only to the incarnation itself, God made Himself most clearly known – first, through a burning bush on the side of a mountain and then, later, descending in power and glory on to the top of the mountain itself to write His law onto stone tablets for humankind.

The construction of St. Catherine's was commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in 530, though Christians had been coming there to escape persecution or as anchorites in pursuit of a monastic life, since the 300s. It was built as a result of its proximity to Mt. Sinai, but also to protect Christians in the area and what is purported to be the bush that drew Moses to his first encounter with the living God. Click here to continue reading this post and to view the blog archive.

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