On Air Jumpin' In Howard and Chris Caine | 9:00pm - 10:00pm

PRAISE ON PILGRIMAGE - DAY 2 - 30 OCTOBER

Greetings from the Golan Hotel in TIBERIAS - where we got out first glimpse of the shores of the SEA OF GALILEE as we looked from our bedroom windows - with a haze over the hills and the early morning sun glinting off the cream-walled houses below us.  Our first stop today was on the Galilee seashore - looking across the water and imagining the moment when Jesus asked Peter to do something that was completely against an experienced fisherman's common sense - to cast out nets in broad daylight (after a night of hard work - and no fish) but Peter obeyed - and the nets were filled with fish - almost to breaking point.  As we walked to the water's edge and looked out over the shimmering waters, there was ample time to reflect on what Jesus might be asking us to do this day - do we need to say, as Peter did  - 'If you ask, Lord, I will do it' ..... ?

       

We came down to the Sea of Galilee at the point known as The Primacy of Peter - the place where Jesus asked Peter repeatedly if he loved Him, - and the place where Jesus gave Peter the greatest commission - to feed His lambs, and feed His sheep - to feed the world with God's message of love and salvation .... The church here is a reminder that Jesus's commission was not just for Peter, but for us, today, wherever we are .... Rev'd Rod led us in a reflection on this story, as recorded in John's Gospel, Chapter 21 verses 1-17

           
Our next stop was at CAPERNAUM, on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee.  All four gospels tell us that Jesus visited Capernaum often and attended the Synagogue there.  Matthew (4:23) describes Jesus leaving Nazareth and settling in Capernaum and Mark (1:21-28) describes Jesus teaching and healing in the Synagogue there.  It's a ruined town now, but in the time of Jesus it was a busy centre of trade, with a flourishing fishing industry and a population of around 1,500.  It was a taxation point on the Via Maris, which was the main trade route connecting Damascus in the North with Egypt in the South, so travellers, traders and local people would all have heard Jesus preach and teach, and would have witnessed His miracles.  It's also the place where Matthew - the tax collector - first met Jesus.

In Capernaum today, it's possible to see quite clearly the remains of two synagogues, one built on top of the other. In the lower part of the picture, the black basalt rock remains are from the  Synagogue mentioned in the gospels, and which Christ would have attended.  The  white-stone Synagogue was built on top of the ruins of the earlier basalt Synagogue, around 4th Century AD.

  

Remains from the 'white' Synagogue, showing the decoration ....

    

The curiously-shaped modern church at Capernaum looks very much as if it's balancing on a point, rather than having proper foundations!

   

There is, as we discovered, an excellent reason for this.  It's because the church is built over another amazing archeological discovery here ...... the house of Peter's mother-in-law (who Jesus healed of a fever) and quite probably Peter's home too. After the death of Jesus, the house became a place of pilgrimage and prayer.   In the 5th century, a church was built over the house, to preserve the holy site, and today, inside the modern Franciscan church, there is a glass floor through which it's possible to clearly see the remains of the house and of that earlier church which protected them ....

   

Inside the church - the 'railings' are around the glass floor section ....

On the Capernaum horizon is a red-domed Greek Orthodox Church, believed to be the location of the Roman camp from which the Centurion came, asking Jesus to heal his servant ..... just one of a number of miracles Jesus worked in this place ....

    

And in the grounds, the Homeless Jesus speaks for itself .....

On next to MADGALA -  believed to be the home of Mary of Magdala. This is yet another site with a compelling story (and well worth visiting the website magdala.org)   A few years ago, Father Juan Solana, who was already in charge of the pilgrim guest-house Notre Dame of Jerusalem, felt called to build a retreat centre somewhere in the Galilee region.  He chose the site of Magdala, as his mother had a great devotion to Mary of Magdala.   When digging for the building of the retreat centre began in  2009, builders quickly uncovered the remains of a first century Synagogue where it is certain that Jesus would have taught.  Further digging revealed an entire first century Jewish town - a busy fishing port - lying just below the surface. Even though only 10%  of the archaeology has been uncovered, we can walk where Jesus taught, and see how the people of Jesus' time would have worked, and lived - not in separate houses but in collections of small rooms arranged around a central courtyard area, which would have been used for cooking and communal living. 

    

The modern building here is called DUC IN ALTUM and it's offered as a place for worship, mass and prayer for people of all faiths.  The name is taken from Luke 5:4 where Jesus tells Simon Peter to 'launch out into deep water'  and it's made up of several different areas - the stunning Boat Chapel has a  beautiful boat-shaped altar as the superb centrepiece for worship; outside this chapel is the Women's Atrium where seven inscribed pillars celebrate women of the Bible who followed Jesus - eg Martha and her sister Mary, and Salome the Mother of James and John.  The seventh pillar is blank, and celebrates all women of faith, throughout the ages.  On a lower level, the Encounter Chapel is another gem - the floor is actually that of the first-century market-place in the port of Magdala.  It's easy to imagine how crowded, noisy and busy this would have been, so it's entirely appropriate that the stunning mural in this chapel depicts the woman with a haemorrhage who couldn't get close to Jesus because of the crowds pressing around him, but nevertheless believed that she would be healed, even if she could only touch the hem of His garment.

  

Each of the four smaller Mosaic Chapels depicts an event which took place near to the Sea of Galilee - eg the raising of Jairus's daughter, Jesus calling the disciples to follow Him, and Jesus walking on the water ....

   

And in a place where the ministry of women is celebrated, it seems very appropriate to find this very moving portrayal of Mother Teresa of Calcutta by the artist Juan Carlos Lopez Meza

The high point of this day needs little or no description - sailing on the Sea of Galilee in a reproduction of a boat from the time of Jesus where - in a beautifully peaceful, prayerful atmosphere, we shared Communion led by Rev's Dawn, Rod and Steve

   

.... and as the sun began to set, we sailed back to the shore at Tiberius - with just enough time to pause in the Valley of the Doves - Jesus would have gone through this valley numerous times, as he walked from Nazareth, to the Sea of Galilee.  We looked up at the caves in the high hillside - a refuge for the Zealots in times of trouble - and wondered if one, Simon the Zealot, had perhaps listened to Jesus as He sat below the hillside, under the olive trees, and taught the people

     

And there we leave you - under the olive tree ...... look out for DAY 3, when we'll take you with us to CANA,  NAZARETH - and more!

With love and prayers 

from Rev's Ron, Dawn and Steve - and the Pilgrims!

Oh - sorry - it wouldn't quite be a complete report without another picture of Steve's chest ....