Wednesday, February 23, 2011

By the Shores of Galilee

We were blessed with a beautiful day on the shores of Galilee.  Galilee is at a much lower altitude than Jerusalem and so has a balmy climate.   This is truly the fertile crescent, filled with orchards and fields of vegetables and wheat.   The smell of almond blossoms fills the air.
We visited sites of Jesus’ early ministry: Capernaum, home of Peter, where Jesus healed Peter’s mother in law and taught in the synagogue, the mountain (hill) of the Sermon on the Mount, the lakeside valley where the loaves and fishes were multiplied and the beach where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection and told Peter to “feed my sheep.”  
This beach was my favorite spot of the day.  It is known for St. Peter’s Priory, the little monastery and church built over the rock where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection and made them breakfast and understandably names for Peter “the rock.”  This Gospel story from John has been especially meaningful to me since I preached my senior sermon on it my final semester as an undergraduate and first felt a clear calling to ordained ministry.   This Gospel reminds me of how, like the disciples, we are formed and fed in community and then sent out to do God’s work in the world.  
We celebrated the Eucharist at St. Peter’s Priory, with the sounds of other groups around us doing the same in many different languages.  This is the living testimony to that place.  The disciples did go out to make disciples of all nations.  Though there is much that divides us as Christians (i.e. women can’t celebrate the Eucharist at these Holy sites as they are owned by the Roman Catholic Church) we are united by our common baptism.  We, and many other pilgrims, went down to the water to renew our baptismal vows after the Eucharist.  I had a lovely conversation with some pilgrims from Spain who asked me to fill their water bottles with sand and water.  We sent each other off with blessings.

Our lunch of "St. Peter's Fish"


  1. has got to be a moving and spiritual experience. thank you for the update.

  2. Sound like you are having a wonderful adventure. As a little kid, I asked the Fr. Brown after mass one Sunday how big the rock that Peter was to build the church on was, I really thought it must be a very large rock. My parents love this story. Fr. Brown said at least ne knew someone was listening. Safe travels & thanks for sharing your thoughts. xoxo - Mara