The tranquillity of the Sea of Galilee, and a snapshot of me leading Holy Communion beside the Sea for our 75-strong Cumbria Ecumenical pilgrimage (with Bishop James sat in readiness for the reflection). It was a powerful occasion for prayer concerning our walk with Jesus today as we walked the land he trod 2,000 years ago.
There are more frivolous images taken a few seconds before of Bishop James and I roaring with laughter together – I don’t know what at. But as the Apostle Paul writes, “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel” (Philippians 1:4) and through close fellowship (and fun) we have bonds which cause us to pray deeply for one another.
However, the presence of Jesus was experienced more keenly on the pilgrimage where we met and talked with those in a variety of situations (schools, YMCA, former IDF soldier, Eritrean refugee workers, work of Anglican Archbishop across 5 countries and more). In these situations, people shared experiences of rejection, division, hostility, enmity, marginalisation and painful hardship.
In these places we saw where Jesus was leaving footprints today, as people wrestled with the difficulties and struggles that living in Palestine and Israel bring. It is possible that we strive too often to find Jesus beside the quiet waters, when in fact the footsteps in which we are to plant our own are to be found in the highways and byways and the turbulence of other lives lived in the shadow of darkness where Jesus would seek to bring his light.
Please pray for:
- all those who shared in the ecumenical pilgrimage as they in turn share their story and strengthen the ecumenical working across Cumbria
- our Synod as it meets this Saturday, for Grace and Peace to be experienced as we wrestle with a full agenda and big questions as we work to support one another in our congregations and all the forms of ministry we share across the Synod.