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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE- Day 8: Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaeum, Lakeside Communion, Boat across the Lake

Wednesday - Day 8: Mount of the Beatitudes,  Capernaeum, Communion beside Galilee,  Boat across the Lake

A glorious start to the day with stunning views across Galilee as we head for the North-western shore, known as The Believers' Seashore with Chorazin, Magdala and Capernaeum all nestled on the shore though we will only visit the last of these. But we are first headed to The Mount of the Beatitudes -a very beautiful site overlooking the Lake. The church has been deliberately designed to encourage visitors to spend time in the gardens - recognising the importance of the outdoors in Jesus' ministry


     
There is something in this experience which prompts me to pose a question to Bishop Stephen and Maureen: whether they think that regular pilgrimages for Readers/ LLMs and their spouses, led by a series of Bishops, might be beneficial. Both warm to the idea immediately on the basis that it is bound to have a beneficial effect on some after-pilgrimage preaching/teaching and would also be a considerable affirmation of Reader/LLM ministry. It felt as if an inspiration in that beautiful place might be leading to something creative. I am minded to think of the idea being linked with my Prayer for Creativity which will be found in the A-Z index in the right hand column.

In Magdala, currently being excavated and therefore not accessible to us, are two new initiatives;a Visitors' Centre and inspirationally, a multi-faith Women's Centre.

It is this area of the Believers'Shore that Jesus chose to be the principal base for his ministry. We go to see the excavations at Capernaeum, a place of much activity for Jesus. Here he healed the centurion's slave, Peter's mother-in-Law and the disabled man let in through the roof to gain access to Him. Peter  also chose to live with his Mother-in-Law at Caepernaeum, perhaps rather than pay taxes to fish and sell his fish that he would have to pay if he had remained in his home in Bethsaida. We celebrate the gift of in-Laws in prayer. We sat gratefully in the shade in the Synagogue that dates from Byzantine times, possibly as an early day visitor centre. The site is entirely open to the elements now but the Galeria for women and children is evidenced by a high course of differential stone to the rest of the walling .

A house footing in Capernaum with interlocked rooms, probably a family residence

 The ruins are impressive and would have borne more investigation but we must move on to the
 lakeside chapel of Mensa Christi where the rock on which Jesus is said to have prepared breakfast for his disciples after the Resurrection stands at the front of the sanctuary. Outside a peaceful small cove where the shoreline is several feet higher than usual after the heavy but welcome winter rains.



After the most frenetic lunch of the whole pilgrimage, we go to Taghba,  another of the lakeside communities where we make our way to an exquisitely quiet lakeside area with its own little lagoon for our last day Celebration of Communion. A large rock forms the altar piece. We are joined by cormorant, kingfishers and herons as Maureen celebrates for us as we all look out directly on to the Lake. The Peace is a joyous exchange tinged with a little sadness that some are leaving us tomorrow. we are, during the celebration to be silent and enjoy the peacefulness of the place. at that moment, there was, for me a realisation that Jesus would have been accompanied by birds and perhaps other creatures whenever he sought quietness in the hills.

Then a brief visit to the church in whose grounds we have been celebrating before heading off for a boat ride on Galilee itself. After the quiet and the peace, which also is part of the boat experience, everyone is ready for a little relaxing fun - but not before the captain (I think) of the boat gave an excellent demonstration of net casting in the manner that would have been exercised in Jesus' time. Then the fun - culminating in singing and dancing to Hava Ngila.




Not much time left for those who have come only for the pilgrimage, but most of us have the pleasure of a further four days in this extraordinary place. Who knows what further blessings are to come.
Move on to Day 9
OR Return to main pilgrimage index

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'