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North to the Galilee

A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Jesus’s Ministry

sunny

Another early departure, this to the Jordan River for the renewal of our Baptismal vows. We did not go to the traditional sites that commemorate Jesus’s Baptism but to a spot north of them where our local tour guide, Iyad Qumri, had found a place that was tranquil and rural. Until today. We drove to the river and came upon a hippy heaven with old sofas lined up at the river, stained and damaged, to tents of tarp scraps stretched from pole to pole, to a land littered with old latex gloves and things I didn’t want to identify, to a river blocked by orange oil barrels. Everything within me cried to leave and go to Yardenheit where doves flew and steps allowed us to enter the waters and garbage was removed by some official or another. Yet in a way we were in the right place, a place where we promised to love our neighbors as ourselves and to respect the dignity of every human being - even those human beings who make messes and have wild parties. The Baptismal vows had new meaning and found new challenge today.

The synagogue where Jesus taught is at Capernaum, as is Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. The fourth century synagogue on the site is built atop the first century platform where Jesus “taught as one who had authority.” A first century olive press sits nearby. Next we prayed at the Mount of the Beatitudes where we read Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount and then continued to a site in a wild garden overlooking the Sea of Galilee where we celebrated the Holy Eucharist.

Our lunch site, Pilgerhaus, displays photos of prominent clerics who have visited the place, some of whom have interesting surnames- see below. Ann Hutchinson found another cat to love at Tabgha, the place where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, marked by a small mosaic beneath the altar of the church built there to commemorate the event. Finally, we saw the first century boat plucked from the sea and rescued and preserved only a few years ago. “It could have been Peter’s boat,” said someone, and indeed it could have been. To end the afternoon, we sailed on the Sea - or Lake - of Galilee. David and Jane Charlesworth, Harriet Odlum and Ann Hutchinson, and Jerry and Barbara Hess are seen below on the water with the Golan Heights behind them

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Posted by HopeEakins 11:10 Archived in Israel

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