Stop 4 The Primacy of St Peter (Mensa Christi)
The spot where Peter declared Jesus to be the Son of God is a beautiful place next to the Sea of Galilee. This is where Jesus supposedly met the disciples on the shore and sent them out to fish on the lake. When they did they caught 153 fish (apparently the number of species of fish living in the lake).
The church is simple with beautiful windows and a rock in the centre of the church, appropriate given its dedication to the rock Jesus would build His church on.
The one thing I didn’t do was wander down to the water’s edge. I’m not sure why not. Perhaps it was the heat or the business, perhaps the speed boat buzzing around, but I didn’t, and now I’m home I wish I had.
Stop 6 The Church of the Beatitudes
We had lunch here then visited the beautiful church which marks the venue of the Sermon on the Mount. The church sits on a hillside overlooking the Galilee. The sanctuary is octagonal and each of the eight sides has a window with the words of one of the Beatitudes in Latin.
We had spent some time with the group on our first day thinking about the beatitudes and it felt appropriate, no matter how difficult, to be there with the young people thinking about peace, mourning, persecution and blessing.
Stop 7 The Jesus Boat
Relief from the 42C heat came in the shape of a boat. For me, this was one of the highlights of not only the day, but the trip. I mentioned in a previous post that almost all of the Holy Sites have a church built over them. This one, obviously, doesn’t.
As we got on the boat the wind started to pick up and it was easy to imagine how quickly storms would blow up and to see the disciples huddled in the back of a small boat, riding out the storm.
Our boat was slightly different though… our’s had dancing! We had around an hour sailing on the lake, thinking, reflecting and having great fun.
Stop 7 Nazareth
Our final stop of the day was the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
We arrived at closing time and Gerry and I were almost thrown out immediately. We entered the courtyard and started taking photos, unaware the 6pm was closing time and prayer time. The caretaker came running towards us shouting ‘No photos! Get out!!!’. Not a great start! But it was explained we were with the group and we were allowed into the church. I’m so glad we were.
I have no photos from inside the church which I’m desperately sad about. It is a stunning building. Beautiful and modern and spacious and holy.
It’s the place where Jesus lived and worked in the middle of a busy town with shops and lots of people going about their lives, just like Nazareth today.
Faith is life, and life is faith. This whistle stop tour of the places where Jesus walked taught me that. We visited places where miracles happened, but those miracles all involved people. Real people searching for wholeness, healing and love. I think that’s what I found in the Holy Land.