It began with our group loading an aching dock. Everyone is layered, (I am wearing three pairs of pants and 6 layers on top) afraid of another visit from yesterday’s storm. We watch our boat arrive, a pin prick on the Sea.
The water is blue. The sky is blue. The mountain range where Tiberius lies, is blue.
We step onto water as fishermen would, onto the boat below us.
There are only a few moments when the boat is not straining in to the wind. When it is calm enough to feel how wind would have felt on a boat without an engine—the way the water sounds as it licks the sides of the boat, wraps itself in hair. And for a moment we get to experience how it may have been for the disciples at sea.
This lake, the one Jesus walked on. This lake, the one Jesus taught on. I wrestle over the black rocks by water, imagining the people there—trying to get closer to him. Craning their necks not to miss anything, carrying their sick to where Jesus might be coming by.
I imagine the disciples being called to follow Jesus on this very shore. Jesus, Son of the Most High God, sitting among these boys. Boys—who are very much like us, not significant or of high status. Yet Jesus chooses them, breaks bread with them, does life with them. Knows that they can make a difference in this world. He uses the small people.
Jesus likes to work in ways we least expect. Jesus, who could have called on anyone, and yet chooses to relate with fishermen. Knowing they know about sailing knots and nets he tells them, “I will make you fishers of men.”
How quickly do they cast their nets aside to follow this Jesus?
And what of our small group today at sea, at Mt. Precipice, Megiddo, & Ceasarea Maritima? He sees us too. He calls us too. We are a part of the story as well. This Jesus, His spirit in us, moving us into this new kind of Kingdom building.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there…
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.”
I can feel Him even now, as I walk these streets, I can sense the gentleness He must have had, along with a fierce purpose to accomplish the task He came for.
We are reminded all day of this—everyday of this.
As we sit and drink tea with the man from Wadi Rum, we see a man who could live in a much more lavish environment, but chooses the sand, the desert instead. Chooses smallness.
We see a King, come to earth, Son of the most High God who chooses to ride a colt instead of a chariot. He becomes human, like us. Our feet take us to different Kingdoms, where the buildings and pillars have fallen, and learn of a King Jesus who came and built nothing— but loved people. His Kingdom was not about buildings of stone. And we learn today, He can calm a sea. He, God who calms the sea also eats with sinners, touches the leper, befriends the prostitute, chooses the fisherman… chooses us.
I sit here today at Megiddo, or on the edge of the cliff of Mt. Precipice, overlooking the Jezreel Valley & Nazareth. I see a landscape where the people pressed in on Jesus to throw him from a cliff for His countercultural views (Luke 4), and at each stop I am struck by this man Jesus. No matter what the situation, he was always returning. To a new Kingdom, one that was about loving the world, loving the poor, loving other people, loving God. Dr. Turner describes to us the simplicity of living the faithful life of a Christian, like Jesus did. This, our calling.
We end our day similar to how it began, layered in clothing, standing near a port. This time we were near the docks of a man who wanted to be great in this world. Ceasarea Maritima is about a kingdom that worshipped much like we do in our culture—the worship of pleasure, entertainment, self promotion and wealth. What a juxtaposition compared to the tiny city we came from on the sea of Galilee with lowly fisherman. As we run to the bus, overwhelmed by history and rain, I am struck by the desire to join in the Kingdom building of something that cannot be overcome by a tidal wave, but the Kingdom building of a people.