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Shore of the Sea of Galilee

Shore of the Sea of Galilee

Some people struggle with the way some of the places connected with Jesus birth, life and death have been venerated. Some question the accuracy of the sites – often the words “believed to be the place” preface other information. But it is hard to deny the authenticity of an actual body of water, and so when our guide said – this was where Jesus calmed the storm; where Jesus walked the shores; where Jesus’ Galilean ministry was focused, no one had any problem accepting the statement. And so it was fitting to share communion on the shores of the Sea of Galilee just yards away from Tabgha the traditional site of the feeding of the 5000, and of Jesus’ resurrection appearance to his disciples when he cooked breakfast for them on the shore.

Communion at Sea of Galilee

Communion at Sea of Galilee

As we gathered near the edge of the water we were struck by the incredible view … the calm water, the rock table, the trees, the stones on the shore, oh yes, and the silence only broken by the water lapping on the shore. Our reading was of Jesus feeding the 5000 from John 6:1-11. Angela, who was reading, stood behind us and her voice flowed over us as she described the scene. As Angela read the words “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Two fish jumped out of the water beside us as she said those very words. And the thought came unbidden into my mind “I am the bread of life”. The presence of Christ was almost tangible. When we came to the end of a very poignant communion service the first thing my husband said was “did you hear the fish jump just as Angela said those words” being able to confirm that I did hear and see them somehow made the event even more special because it was shared, just as the feast was.  After the communion service I stood by the shore and enjoyed listening to the water gently lap against the rocks and stones at the water’s edge.

Church of the Multiplication

Church of the Multiplication

We then made our way to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (also known as the Church of the Multiplication). The church is modern but stands on the site of 4th and 5th-century churches. It preserves an early Christian mosaic depicting the loaves and fishes as well as the traditional stone on which the miraculous meal was said to have been laid. As I looked at the mosaic I was struck by the fact that there were only four loaves in the basket and not five, and then I remembered Jesus said “I am the bread of life”.

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