Monday, 2 January 2012

Sea of Galilee

Sailing on Lake Galilee would have been familiar to Jesus.  Four of his disciples were fishermen whose livelihood was found there.  There are a number of occasions where the Gospels make reference to the lake and to Jesus and the disciples sailing across it.  A brief trip on the lake was, for me, one of the highlights of my visit to the Holy Land as it was one of those times when I found it easiest to imagine being where Jesus had been.

Our trip was on a calm and sunny afternoon, a good time to be out on the water, but it was not difficult to imagine the varying conditions in which Jesus and his disciples would have sailed on that same lake.  Indeed, while out in the boat, we read the later verses of Matthew 14 which records the disciples being caught in a storm when they saw someone approaching them on the water - and the famous account of Peter, at Jesus' invitation, stepping out of the boat, but then losing faith - and sinking.  It was an interesting mix of 21st and 1st century that I read the passage from my iphone - as that was the only Bible that any of us had brought.

As we sailed on the lake we were able to reflect back across the centuries and consider what it would have been like for Jesus and his contemporaries, but we were also able to think of what Jesus' presence means for and to us here and now.  Just as Jesus was with the disciples on the occasion recorded in Matthew 14, so he was with us on the same lake.  In many ways that was the big lesson we kept coming back to during the trip.  We were not following the step of a historical Christ.  We were walking alongside a living Christ.  Where we went, Jesus was.

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