‘We received so much. To dip one’s feet in the Jordan; to sail on the Sea of Galilee; to experience peace amidst many different groups praying in the gardens surrounding the Church of the Beatitudes, so many very special experiences it is hard to single out a particular one. However there were a number of extra special experiences for me.
And the first of these is a case of ‘Less is more’. I am not a patient person. I was angry about being prevented from reaching and seeing the actual tomb in which Jesus was laid. But by the next morning, the morning of our departure from Jerusalem, I felt blessed with an unusual sense of peace and acceptance which to a large extent has remained with me on return.
We saw so much archaeological excavation. At Peter’s house in Capernaum and in the synagogue close by we could see the layers of successive ages exposed. I began to understand how for the most part the places where Jesus walked are hidden metres below the modern surface. Getting down to this base level somehow made me feel the reality of what we were visiting. Reading the gospels is going to be a different experience from now on
A third impressive element was the paintings and art work on the walls and ceilings in the churches we visited, such as the picture in the Milk Grotto of Mary breast feeding Jesus. I had no idea who the artists were, but many of the works gave me a different feeling about events depicted. It was almost as if the painters had been there at the time.