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Monday, January 16, 2012

Following Jesus and the Church he loves....

Inside the Church of the

Outside the Church of The Beatitudes.  Here
is where the sermon on the mount was given

Kelly on the grounds of the
church of the Beatitudes

Kelly sailing on the Galilee

Wine from Cana, bread from Tiberias, Holy
Communion on the Sea of Galilee

Passing another boat, ours
looks different!

View from Communion, up to the church of the
Beatitudes and of the Primacy of Peter on
the shore.  Perfect setting for the meal.

Sailing back
We woke up to partly cloudy but nice whether here in Tiberias which is on the southern shores of the seas of Galilee.  We headed out for the mount of Beatitudes and the church that is built on the site.  In Matthew's Gospel beginning with chapter 5, Jesus begins his famous sermon on the mount and tradition with a little archaeology has located the general area where the church is built and a thriving Christian community of sisters still live.  It is a beautiful, green, garden like setting that you can just imagine with your minds eye Jesus standing in the midst of folks preaching and sharing those beatitudes of Matthew 5...Blessed are the poor in spirit...

One of the most famous mosaic floors in the Christian world. 
Tabgha, or the church of the multiplication of the loaves is
built on several older churches.  This floor is from the 300's
AD when Helen came to determine Christian sites.

This mosaic not as old as the other
but beautiful and probably done
by an Egyptian craftsman

The front of Tabgha church looking past the baptismal font to the
altar where the mosaics are located

Kelly by an ancient Olive
press for getting Olive
From The Mount of Beatitudes we went down to a kibbutz and got on a replica of a 1st century fishing boat (modeled after one that was found in 1976 here at this site) and sailed on the Sea of Galilee.  After sailing for a while the boat was stopped, the engine cut and we just floated on the waters with the mount of Beatitude in the background we had Holy Communion together--a truly moving part of our trip.  Here on the waters that Jesus traveled so often, stilling the storm, walking on water, healing and teaching, here we sat to hear the word and receive the gift of his body and blood.   A blessed moment.

The church of the Primacy of Peter
built where the resurrected Jesus
cooked breakfast for the disciples
in John's Gospel and reinstated Peter

Here the ancient steps cut into the rock that pilgrims once
used to commemorate the spot of Jesus' fire on
the beach

Here the rock where very early on
1st century AD Christians came
to remember this event.  The rock
was where the fire was for

Still fishing the Galilee

Kelly sitting next to the sea of Galilee, near the place of Jesus
resurrection appearance.
 From the boat we went to the famous Tabgha--church of the multiplication--where Jesus feed the 5000 with only two fish and five loaves.  The church hosts a 3rd century mosaic on the floor which speaks to this being an ancient site for Christian pilgrims.  

From there we traveled just a bit to the church of the Primacy of Peter.  This church commemorates the Resurrection appearance to Peter on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus making breakfast for the disciples asks Peter three times if he loves him, each time telling Peter to feed his sheep or tend his (Jesus') lambs.   It is an old site, where one can see that pilgrims have been coming to venerate and commemorate the place early in the life of the church,,,some say even in the 1st century AD.  It is a wonderful place.

Next we come to Jesus' adopted hometown of Capernaum.  What a beautiful place.  Birds chirping, lots of flowering trees and Bogavias surround the ruins.  Chief of which are a church built over the ruins of a first century house which is said to be that of Simon Peter.  It is an old site, where pilgrims from the first century seem to have preserved it.   Nearby are the ruins of other homes and then a beautiful synagogue which is built later, but on the ruins of the 1st century synagogue.  So that means that right here in this place Jesus taught and healed.   Here is where Jairus came to beg for his daughter's life and where the women with the unstoppable flow of blood reached out in faith and touched Jesus cloak.  Capernaum is where the disciples were called away from their fishing nets and where Peter's mother-in-law was healed of her fever.  Capernaum was where....... and her we stand, right here in the place.  Not once upon a time in a far away land...but right here, right in this place Jesus walked and taught and called folks to follow him.
This church is built over Peter's house in Capernaum

The ruins of what has been
enshrined as Peter's house

The church above with glass floor to look down into
Peter's house

Sign identifying this as a 4th
century Synagogue; but built on the
same location as Jesus' synagogue

Kelly and I in the
the Synagogue of

Ruins of the houses in Jesus day.

Kelly between an old doorway
in Capernaum

From Capernaum we headed just a bit north to eat lunch on the Galilee....and what did we have?  St. Peter's fish of course!  Caught this morning and served up for us this afternoon.  Here is a picture of the real deal!  I admit, I ordered mine as a head or tail for me....or bones!  It was delicious.

Catch of the day!  Actually very tasty!  St. Peter's Fish

Light breaking through on the Galilee
Tomorrow we head toward the Mediterranean Sea and to Ceaserea Maritima, home of Pontus Pilate when not in Jerusalem, then a final dinner as our friends fly home and we spent one last night in Tel Aviv before our flight leaves the next morning (Thank you John and Rachel!).   Quite a journey.

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