“O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!”
The third verse of John Greenleaf Whittier’s hymn, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, describes perfectly the scene today as I commenced my Holy Land pilgrimage. It is a calm place and as dawn broke this morning the mist that covered the Sea of Galilee slowly lifted revealing the hills of the Golan Heights to our East. I enjoyed the freedom of running by the lake and taking an impromptu swim.
The lake, so smooth and calm, is intimately associated with the life and teaching of Christ, and of many of his disciples, including Simon-Peter, who were fisherman from the area of Capernaum. The road over the hills from Nazareth through the Valley of the Pigeons ends at the village of Magdala. Jesus took that road on his journey to Galilee and it was at Magdala that he first met Mary whom we know as Magdalen.
I will write short dispatches, internet access permitting, for both my blogs as my journey progresses. As one correspondent said to me in an email recently, I do manage to stretch the point sometime, and my excuse for posting on both blogs is that there will be some direct relevance to MyByzantine blog, but for my Patrick Leigh Fermor blog the point is much less clear! As far as I know Paddy never visited Israel – I now expect corrections! – but he does love churches, and religious art, and I shall be seeing much of that in the next few days, so I think (and hope) Paddy might approve!