Day 3 in Israel
On our way to the Sea of Galilee. On my left is the city of Migdal---that's where Mary Magdalene is from. On my right is the Gennesaret Valley. Oh how the stories come alive. Larry said someone told him that it is the "black words" that come alive when you walk into Israel. We all know the "red words." As we entered Capernaum, Home of Jesus, we found the ruins of Peter's 4,000 square foot home where Jesus reclined most of those 3 years according to Israeli lore. And Jesus' second public miracle was here. Remember, the royal official's son was healed as he lay in this town and Jesus was in another city. The black words come alive.
Tabgha is on the western side of the Sea of Galilee, 3k south of Capernaum. Everything is so close in proximity. Jesus walked over here and found his first apostles. We stopped to pay homage to the place where Jesus multiplied the Loaves and Fishes. This verse has meant so much to me over the past 4 years because as I pondered what on earth I would do to find God...HE was finding me, and protecting me from harm and carrying me. Nothing touched me that He didn't allow and He stood me back up again! 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. I wept as I witnessed the stone set under an altar in a chapel symbolizing the miracle. And it was a miracle that God lifted my head and stood me up. And stood me up He did indeed!
Larry's sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes was this: Larry drew me to the heart of God just as that leper sat on that hill listening to the sermon on the mount knowing that he was not healed. The leper found Jesus after the sermon not knowing what He would do. God healed him. But the point of this is that the leper was drawn to the heart of God even before he was healed. Ohh! Larry humbly spoke: You are blessed if you are poor and down to your last dime (I can relate to that one) and if you are spiritually a beggar for you are in a protected place where no harm can reach you. Larry went on to say: "Life doesn't consist of relationships but it consists of getting people like you to better relate. He told of a friend of his dying from cancer who said: "This is my last chance to love Jesus Christ in pain."
Larry asked, Where are your markers? Are you no longer demanding fair treatment, offering mercy to those who don't deserve it, martyred to your own narcissism? He said his professor said in his old age and Larry says the same: "I'm just beginning to understand." Jonathan Edwards: "The purpose of the Gospel is to communicate the happiness of Jesus to His Followers." Was Jesus only happy at the Canaan wedding and with Mary & Martha or was He happy not because of His circumstances but because of His willingness to obey God on that Narrow Road. Do we reflect the character of God and serve His Purposes not matter how our spouses and children act.
I visualized that leper listening---I'm just like that leper needing to be healed. But I am a little more dependent on Him than ever before and that's a very good place to be. We ended today at the Jordan River and several of us were baptized in the cold still water. And the dove rested---incongruent for our character but not for His. Larry said at the baptisms: "You rise up out of the water never to a God Who will never have an ounce of anger towards you. You are loved. Your future is guaranteed. The pressure's off. You no longer live to get it right."
We closed the day with a boat ride on the noble Sea of Galilee looking into the towns on the hill where we had just walked, just a mile away. The waves of this sea carried both Peter and the King of Kings as He walked on water to rescue his sinking disciples screaming for help in their fishing boats in the midst of a terrifying storm. It was pastoral and peaceful on this day. But our hearts hold a few storms and our Master showed up as we sang and wept aboard our boat "Worthy is the Lamb."
Friday, November 19, 2010
Day 3 in Israel