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Archive for the ‘Capernaum’ Category

For many people a visit to the Holy Land becomes a sort of “fifth gospel”. For me, it became a lens though which to read the pages of the written Gospels and I am stunned at how much clearer they have become. I am now leading a 10 day Pilgrimage to the Holy Land leaving from Aberdeen, Scotland 16th-25th March 2011.

I feel that, if at all possible, people should take the chance to visit if they can; there is so much to see, hear, learn, experience and share. Blogs, books, photos and presentations can certainly peak our attention, but nothing beats the personal experience. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is more than pious tourism and few, but the cynical, would see it as a “Christian Disneyland”. Indeed I found it to give me an awareness not only of the past, but also the present.

I became aware that the Holy Land was an amazing experience of spirituality, education, and culture.

Model of Jerusalem on eve of destruction 70 AD

Visits will include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and Qumran, as well as allowing free time for relaxation and private exploration. We will walk along the Via Dolorosa, sail on the Sea of Galilee, float on the Dead Sea and ascend the Mount of Masada by cable car.

If you’re interested in joining this adventure then please get in touch.

For more information see the attached brochure. Holy Land Pilgrimage 2011

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I had an operation on my wrist last week, and find that the restricted movement that has been imposed upon me for the next 10 days means I’m looking for things I can do without causing too much pain. I decided video editing was a safe thing to do – use one hand, point and click. Okay there have been a few moments when I’ve forgotten and tried to hold a button down, but the sharp pain up my arm reminds me it’s not the thing to do! Anyway, I’ve put together a short video of my trip to Israel and include it here to give you a flavour not only of the trip, but also of the sights and sounds of land.

 

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Our final day in Israel was taken up with visiting the sites around the Sea of Galilee associated with Jesus’ life.    Our first stop was the site of Capernaum – Jesus’ adopted home town.   It was here that Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew to follow him.   It was here that he performed miracles.   It was here that he worshiped and taught in the synagogue.  Capernaum was the base for Jesus’ Galilean ministry.   

Peter's House at Capernaum

Peter's House at Capernaum

The excavations of the site are ongoing, but one of the first things we were taken to see was the house of Peter.   It was discovered in 1968 under an earlier discovery of a 5th century octagonal church.    The walls of the house were covered with inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.   Words such as Jesus, Lord and Christ appeared as well as the name Peter. Almost no domestic ceramics were found, but a large number of lamps were, as well as some fish hooks.  One explanation suggested is that the room was venerated as a religious gathering place; a house church for the Christian community dating from the 1st century.   By the fourth century the building was being protected by an enclosure and then came the building of the 5th century church.   Today eight pillars surround the area and support the present day church, which is built over the old church and the site of Peter’s house as protection.  A small house, protected down through the centuries because it was somewhere of significance – the home of someone Jesus knew; a home Jesus visited; a home where he healed.   

Synagogue and road at Capernaum

Synagogue and road at Capernaum

At the centre of the village are the remains of a 4th century synagogue of white limestone.   But it stands on the foundations of black basalt volcanic rock of an earlier synagogue, dating from Jesus’ time.   Also visible is a road, alongside the synagogue, which dates from this earlier period too; a road on which it is likely Jesus walked.   As we sat on the stone benches of the synagogue we listened to some of the words Jesus spoke as he taught in the synagogue at Capernaum.   (John 6).  I looked at the earlier remains of a building which Jesus would have known well and the homes surrounding the synagogue which would have been familiar to him too.  And I thought about how hard his teaching was for some of the people who lived here, and how some had turned away when they heard it.   And I realised that the same thing still happens today.

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