Thursday, 14 September 2017

Where Jesus walked

We left our beautiful hotel on the banks of the Sea of Galilee yesterday and headed off towards Tel Aviv airport and our flight home, but not before we had called in at  Caesarea, the scene of the conversion of Cornelius, and the beginning of the gospel mission to the Gentiles, all as related in Acts 10 (which we read together).

This was a  crucial moment in the life of the church, with revolutionary consequences for all of us, who now, by God's grace, can be incorporated into the company of his people..

Aqueduct at Caesarea
And so our time in the Holy Land has come to an end. Each night we met to sing God's praise and hear his word, sharing in Holy Communion together on our last night and first thing on the Sunday morning. At various points on the way we stopped to read the Scriptures, to pray, sometimes to sing.

Particular highpoints were reading the story of the calming of the storm on the boat on the Sea of Galilee, reading and meditating on breakfast on the seashore from John 21 on the shore of Galilee, and celebrating the resurrection on Sunday, the resurrection day in the resurrection city of Jerusalem.

The shore of Galilee

It was good to be reminded that the Bible is set in a very different world from ours. The heat. The desert. The hills of Jerusalem. The boundaries, the checkpoints, the  military occupation, the disputes and wars that have ravaged this land from Jesus's time until now. The stark beauty of the desert. The green of Galilee. The dates, mangoes, and bananas. The Beduoin, their ramshackle settlements, their goats. The Muslims, the Jews, the Christians. Masada. Jerusalem. Jericho. Bethlehem. Nazareth.


It's a beautiful and messy and slighty chaotic sort of place, just like it's always been, and just like most of the rest of the world for which Christ died, but its the place where the Word became Flesh and dwelt amongst us, and our little group from Redhill, Bermondsey, and many other places besides have been privileged to walk where Jesus walked these past eight days. Thank you, Lord.

On to the Airport

Finally, from the church of St Anne in Jerusalem (thanks Funmi for these videos).....

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