Rev. Sharon Doar of Myers Park Baptist visits the Sea of Galilee
As the boat carrying Charlotte’s pilgrims glided across this lake where the Bible reports Jesus walked on water, the Rev. Sharon Doar kept thinking about another walk.
Her own, as a child: Three times a week, she hiked the seven blocks from her home in Chicago to Norwood Heights Evangelical Congregational Church.
It was the early 1950s. Sharon’s mother, a Catholic excommunicated for marrying a Lutheran, had given up on church for herself.
Still, she wanted her daughters in church, which meant the closest one. The fundamentalist members at Norwood Heights believed everything in the Bible literally happened – from Jonah being swallowed by a great fish to Jesus walking over those waves in Galilee.
And Sharon not only trekked to church, she won pins for perfect attendance.
The draw: Those dramatic Bible stories, as told to her Sunday school by two little old ladies. Mrs. Warner and Mrs. Hanson.
Sitting with her King James Version, Sharon delighted in these tales from ancient Israel and Judea: Jesus healing the sick, Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes. As she listened week after week, she also came to believe that Jesus was about love and justice.
In later years, Sharon embraced a more liberal branch of Christianity, one that doesn’t insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible. But for nearly 20 years, as minister for elementary school-age children and their families at Myers Park Baptist, she’s taught Bible stories to children.
Now on her first visit to Israel, the 69-year-old Sharon looked out at the approaching shore and the lush hills just beyond – the places where Jesus lived, taught and performed many miracles.
She remembered those Sunday school ladies. What they had taught her suddenly seemed so real: In her mind’s eye, Sharon could see the apostles Peter and James up ahead, fishing. And she could imagine the storm that had ceased when Jesus, standing in another boat on this same sea, rebuked the wind.
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