Travel to Galilee

Posted by ajenkins on July 28, 2013 under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

Jesus’ ministry began in Galilee and traveled up to Jerusalem. That “up” was both an altitude, a spirituality and a theology. Therefore today we had to leave Jerusalem and travel down, literally some several thousand feet to below sea level to the Jordan river basin and then North to Galilee. When we follow Mary and Joseph in Scripture and read of the their traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem it never occurs to me how difficult a trip it might be. After making that trip in reverse I am humbled at the thought of a pregnant woman doing that. Bethlehem is literally a suburb of Jerusalem. Nazareth is many hot miles, deserts and mountains to the North.

Once we arrived in the valley of the Sea of Galilee we first stopped at the Church of the Mount of the Beatitudes. Every church that commemorates a holy site is quite different and owned by one Christian denomination or monastic order or another. Some are beautiful and lavish. Some are small, dank and disappointing. I have to remember I didn’t come to the Holy Land to see or visit churches. I came on a Pilgrimage. I have found the most spiritually nourishing practice at each holy site is to sit and read the Word that is associated with the event and ministry that the site commemorates.

Today as I sat atop the Mount of the Beatitudes, looking out over the Sea of Galilee and while reading the Sermon on the Mount, I was touched by the Holy Spirit. What can I say? I don’t have the means to convey to you on paper what it was like. I can do it when I am face to face with you, as I was with Jesus. On the edge of the Sea of Galilee I became more intimate with the ministry and mission of Jesus our Savior. The place and content of His sermon, the bravery, the humility, the radical call to a bold and sacrificial life struck me more powerfully than it ever has before.

At the end of our day we moved in to a Lutheran Guest house also on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We gathered for worship and Holy Communion and I was given the privilege to be the preacher. The lessons for this Sunday included a bit of the Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord teaching the disciples to pray their prayer. How sweet is that? I have just come down from the Mountain, I have touched the Sea of Galilee and now I am asked to speak on our Lord’s Prayer for us, his disciples. God is so gracious. A Divine Appointment.

We will spend the next two days traveling around the area and our Lord’s Galilean Ministry. This is where He called the disciples. This is the Sea (a large lake) where He “traveled to the other side.” This is where He walked on the water. This is where He delivered and healed the man with a legion of demons. This is where, following His Crucifixion, the disciples retreated and where He came to find them and cook breakfast for them on the edge of the lake. What a place. But remember, it isn’t just the geography. Some of the places today are overcrowded, over developed, over used, over politicized and over commercialized. It isn’t just the place that is Holy. It is the Life of Christ that was shared there. It is the reverence of the people who come. It is the on going power of the Holy Spirit that invades any who will come and see and submit.

A beautiful and overwhelming example. When we visited Mensa Christi, the spot that commemorates Jesus’ cooking breakfast for the disciples from John 21, it was just another Church, just another rocky beach on the Sea of Galilee. And it was 101 degrees  hot. So, we saw it. It was nice. We remembered. We gave thanks. We moved off the beach to find a spot to talk and pray a bit and heard singing. We were drawn to the song, the praise, the worship. What we found was a Philippino Youth Group with their Praise Team singing in english. It was amazing. They couldn’t speak a word of english, but they worshiped in english and it was stupendous. We became their congregation and just as Jesus did, they and the worship gave us nourishment on the beach.

Now it is my prayer that your worship on Sunday, your Sabbath will also be that nourishing.

Good Night from the Sea of Galilee.
You are my love and in my prayers,
Arthur

  • Rosalyn McDonald said,

    Just read your July 28 post. I am speechless but tears are plentiful. Thank you for this post; I feel I am there now and very blessed.

    Talked with Kay Sunday, although Scooter was far too quick to “tear Kay away” as it were. I will get another chance!

    Thinking of you. Special request: Pray a little prayer of hope for Amanda. Am taking her to hear Joel Osteen Friday night, her request.

    You are God’s most special priest and I love you.

    Rosalyn

    P.S. Bruce sends his greetings, he is busy building a banquette for the kitchen. I have to be careful what I ask for as I am likely to get it.

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