Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee at sunrise.
It's amazing traveling the familiar path of the Church Year after a trip to Israel! This Epiphany, my mind keeps returning to the Sea of Galilee. There, more than any other place, I felt a real sense of the presence of  Jesus. The smallness of the region and the rural landscape have left a lasting impression on me.

As you walk along the Sea of Galilee its easy to imagine Jesus walking here too. Along these shores Jesus called simple fishermen to follow him, and they dropped their nets and followed. In nearby fields Jesus taught rural people with metaphors for the kingdom that they understood - growing wheat and baking bread.

Looking to shore from our boat.
In these small communities around the Sea, Jesus found (and was found) by people on the fringes of society and he healed them and restored them to the community. And around this small Sea, news of Jesus' teaching and power traveled from town to town, and the crowds following him were so large that Jesus had to perform miracles just to feed them! 

The trip also brought home a geography lesson I remember learning when studying Mark. Standing along the Sea of Galilee it is easy to imagine Jesus' ministry unfolding among common people in rural places. And it is easy to see the tension building as Jesus strikes out to Jerusalem to face the political and religious leaders who feared him.

The Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.
In this season of Epiphany as you hear scriptural accounts of Jesus' ministry unfolding, draw to mind these images and your own of this small but beautiful place. 


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