Today was amazing.
Acts 10 recounts the story of the Roman centurion, a God fearer, sending for the apostle Paul to tell him about Christ. Then after Paul responds, the Holy Spirit descends upon the officer and he begins to speak in tongues and display other signs of the Spirit’s presence within him. All before he is even baptized. That soldier was in Caesarea. Later, Luke shares in Acts that Paul was held in prison in Caesarea for two years.
We were there today. We walked that ground on the Mediterranean coast. Possibly in footsteps walked by Paul, and certainly by Phoenicians, Roman soldiers, and Crusaders many centuries ago. An amazing site.
An hour away, our bus climbed up the hills into Nazareth. The Old Synagogue church marks the site where we believe Jesus was instructed as a boy. We held noonday prayers there.
The Basilica of the Annunciation is built over the small stone home believed to have belonged to Mary. We walked through it, peered intently at a small space where it is likely the angel Gabriel said to young Mary, “Hail Favored One. The Lord is with you!” And a teenage girl responded “I belong to the Lord.” We walked and looked and prayed. At another church, we walked by a room believed to be Joseph’s workshop. The room in which Jesus learned carpentry. In a place where he likely cut his finger and created useful tools as a young man.
In Cana, seven of our couples renewed their marriage vows, re-committing ‘to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.’ Tears of joy were shed and broad smiles filled that small chapel not 30 feet from the place where it is likely Jesus performed His first miracle – transforming water into wine.
Shortly after we arrived at our hotel, a number of us went swimming in the Sea of Galilee. The water is clear and warm. A refreshing end to an awesome day.
Tomorrow, we are off to Capernaum and Mt. Beatitudes. And a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. Already our pilgrimage has been so powerful for so many, I think that if someone discerns Jesus inviting him to walk on the water, he might just get out of the boat.
mattboulter on Iona Fred Marshall on Iona Clare Kremer on Ephesus: October 11, 2103 mattboulter on Cappadocia: October 5-7 Dolores on I appeal to you…