Monday, 4 June 2012

The silence of eternity

I swam in the Sea of Galilee yesterday.  It was delightfully cool – though there was a moment of panic when John dived in and forgot he was wearing his glasses until he felt them brush his foot on the way to the bottom!  The lifeguard didn’t save his life but he did find his glasses at the first attempt.
However, having seen dawn, then swam and finally sat under a huge full moon watching its passage across the sky, its reflected light in turn reflected by the water, it got me thinking.
In particular it got me thinking about the privilege of being able to come here for the resources and the time that so many others don’t have. Equally so many who might don’t feel inclined because the word pilgrimage puts them off or makes it sound too religious. Of course faith floods through what we do but our guide Kahlil is a Muslim and yet it works. Not because its his job – even though it is – but because he has respect and that shines through.
As we sat in an ever growing group of fellow pilgrims last night, sharing laughter and fun – especially when Fr Brian decided to go for a swim with his daughter in his shorts and t-shirt – it made me realise the power and purpose of pilgrimage.  Its much more about being on a larger journey than this short trip.  Its about working out who we are and why we are.  And even where we fit in.  Its about welcoming and inclusivity.
For me Galilee – as we come to the end of our time here tonight – is summed up by the words of a hymn:
O Sabbath rest by Galilee! O calm of hills above, where Jesus knelt to share with thee the silence of eternity, interpreted by love… interpreted by love
Love was and is all around us – we saw evidence of that yesterday in a very human sense but also in a growing awareness of bonding with each other.

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