Our bus wound up and down through the hills as we made our way from Tiberias to the Mount of the Beatitudes. I found myself repeating the Venite under my breath as I stared out the window in wonder.
“Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation….
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. in his hands are the caverns of the earth, and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands have molded the dry land….”
(see Psalm 95)
There was something about the heights of those hills and the sea that sits below sea level. In one moment I was fascinated that Jesus walked these very same hills, that he hazarded the enormous igneous rocks that lie strewn about as if a giant had thrown pebbles at a puddle. In the next moment I was captured by the haze that sat upon the lake shrouding the region in mystery.
This is Galilee. It is the region where Jesus was raised, where he learned to be a carpenter, where he went about “teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matt 4:23). To believe I was there is still a mystery.
Galilee is also the region St. Bartholomew called home, and the place where Jesus would call his disciples to follow him.
What’s striking about Galilee is how unremarkable it is in comparison with Jerusalem, the mighty, holy city, or even the desolate, unforgiving Judean wilderness. Yet Jesus called his disciples from this place on the fringe, inviting a people who were largely overlooked and forgotten to be witness to a new creation breaking in on the world.
We’re now 3 Sunday into our series of 5 on St. Bartholomew and a vision that flows from his name.
This Sunday we’ll look at Bartholomew’s home region of Galilee, highlight Jesus calling his disciples from this region, and meditate on why that matters to us as a church.
Join us as we sing to the Lord and shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.