Day 8 November 19, 2013 Companion Trip Drinking up the Galilee

015 St. Jerome called the land itself the Fifth Gospel. I always insist on proclaiming that wherever I am, like at my current congregation Bethesda, it is the New Jerusalem. What is it about the landscape, the water. the traditions, the edifices and chapels, and the ruins that assist the story of God? This is what we are learning on our trip north to Galilee. From the city of Jerusalem, we are now in the country. Galilee is the breadbasket of Israel/Palestine. Bananas, mangoes, date palms, cabbages are among the crops we saw from the highway here. 002 The Jordan River is cloudy and piddly compared to my image from songs about the glories of it. Still, we felt that water of Jesus’ baptism and the place where Naaman was cleansed. And we blessed God for our baptisms. 008 Near the Sea of Galilee, we pondered a chunk of bedrock that forms the basis for a site dedicated to Peter, whom Jesus said was the rock upon which the church will be built. Martin Luther in his gospel-orientation, said it was Peter’s acclaiming Jesus as the Christ which was the rock. But I am grateful for the bedrock, and for Peter, and for the Gospel, so I sat by it and prayed. 011 At Capernaum, we saw structures that revealed a poor village and one insulae, a walled structure for living. Definitely first century. A place for peasants to share life and love. A place where God in Jesus came to dwell. 014 At Tabgha, the site of the Loaves and Fishes, we shared eucharist in a Chapel called Dalmanutha. See Mark chapter 8 for the place name and yet another story of Jesus feeding hungry people. God in Jesus is the people’s bread basket, showing us the ways of compassion and the miracle of sharing resources. Our group was visible awed by the setting and the experience of being fed communally by the same waters where Jesus revealed God’s abiding compassion. 017 At the Mount of Beatitudes, the only structure was a smaller than it could have been domed building surrounded by beautiful gardens, chapels, and spectacular views of the area around Tiberias. Our guide suggested that it is meant to push us out to imagine Jesus offering his blessed are’s at the Sermon on the Mount. So we read the Beatitudes while the sun was setting. Kudos to Sa’id our guide who was with us for his last day. Welcome Hassan, who will travel with us and interpret the Fifth Gospel for the days ahead. I’m filled with the sights/sites. But I’ll keep drinking it up.

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