Rector’s Blog Nov. 15: Loaves, Fishes, and the Sea

This morning we had just left for Caesarea Philippi when we came upon a bike race that had closed the road. The college staff had told us the first day that being in Israel requires flexibility, as you never know when a road will be closed or a holy site will be inaccessible. We had to turn around and head back to the guesthouse for a bit of free time. Kate and I went swimming, mostly just to say that we have been swimming in the Sea of Galilee. I also got some time to sit on the rocks by the water and do some reflecting on being in this place where Jesus did most of his ministry. I am looking forward to reading the gospel with new eyes, having been to these places that were only names before.

We had lunch in Migdal, also known as Magdala (where Mary Magdalene was from). Fun fact: the town of Magdala means “tower of fish” and refers to the drying process used to preserve the fish caught there.

This afternoon we went on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, which was lovely. The light in the cliffs on the shore was spectacular. Our scripture was the story of Jesus stilling the storm. I am still thinking about the last line, spoken by the disciples: “What sort of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The day closed with Eucharist in a beautiful outdoor chapel space with the water in the background. Sharing bread and wine with my fellow pilgrims in this place had a particular resonance. It was one of those times when it is easy to feel close to God. I feel very blessed that there have been a number of those on this trip.