Galilee of the nations

‘It is a Saturday. There won’t be much traffic’. I set off walking to the small lighthouse on the strand and, turning a corner, ran into an army of runners – 2,400 of them I was told.

They were young and old, men and women, black and white. They smiled or waved as I dodged them, their faces cheery, anxious or preoccupied. Going in the opposite direction was a procession of cyclists heading for the Cape. Vehicles were apologetic intruders snatching at the only spaces available on a road that was built for them.

Soon I was off the road, over the bridge which spanned the railway and onto the path that ran by the shore. Fishermen were hauling in a net that still stretched out to sea and I watched as they hauled in two dozen maceral. So much effort by so many for so few! ‘The seas are overfished’, said a bystander.

It is a month since Christmas but the Sunday readings are still hammering the simple message; the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Have all those runners and cyclists seen it? All those fishers of fish? Yes and no. I passed 3,000 people this morning with 3,000 stories to tell – no two the same. Like the many colours of the rainbow each one would refract the light in their own way; some would be red hot, others a gentle yellow and yet others a vivid green or sky blue.

If Judea and Jerusalem were the focus of the Jewish faith, Galilee was a good deal fuzzier. It was Jewish, yes, but it was a crossroads of the trade routes of the ancient world and it seemed that all the nations of the world passed through it.  Isaiah gave it the title of ‘province of the nations’ and Matthew, following him, simply says ‘Galilee of the nations’. In those days it must have been the most cosmopolitan place on earth.

The world is full of Galilees today and I met one on my walk this morning. I found myself rejoicing in the variety that was visible and recognising that it was the outward appearance of a far richer variety that was hidden from the eye. Each of those people is seeking the light as best that can. It is the work of God to draw out from each what is best for them and for all.  We are building not just a province but a community of nations – and it is hard work.

26 January 2010          Sunday 3A

Isaiah 8:23-9:3             1 Cor 1:10-17              Matt 4:12-23

Post published in: Faith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *