Today was amazing as we visited sites along the Sea of Galilee which provides the context for the base of the Savior’s Galilean Ministry where he taught profound messages and performed miraculous miracles (attempt at astounding alliteration). We were off at 7:30am sharp to catch our boat at exactly 7:45am leaving two of our few male members back at the hotel. Don’t worry though they made it just in time at the dock after being dropped off by our other teacher. I guess they weren’t kidding about that promptness thing were they. Anyways, it was extremely cold and windy this morning which for the first time in my life, didn’t frustrate or annoy me in the least bit. I was actually quite happy to experience the raging tempest that day as we sang “Master, the Tempest is Raging” and drifted (or should I say tossed and turned) across the actual sea where Christ calmed the billowing waters and caused his disciples to wonder, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41) Luckily we made it to the “blessed harbor and rested on the blissful shore.” We saw the Ginnosar Boat, excavated in 1986 after a fatal drought, which is believed to be similar to New Testament boats built at the time. Some people call it the “Jesus Boat” because He and His disciples used boats often for transportation, fishing, and even as a pulpit for preaching in large crowds. Next was the Mount of Beatitudes where the essence of Jesus’ expectations for His disciples was spoken and recorded as perhaps the most important text for defining the New Testament or Covenant in the Sermon on the Mount. The weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do since it was cold and rainy and then the sun would shine brightly through the clouds. It seemed to be centered on our righteousness and spirituality; it was quite strange. I’m sorry to disappoint everyone but we didn’t actually sit on any mount. We sat in a fenced ruin of a 5th Century Byzantine church that has been completely renovated into a small amphitheater. I just had to throw that out there so you aren’t disappointed like I was when you all make your future trips to Galilee. The Latin beatus is the basis of the English “beatitude”, meaning to be fortunate, to be happy, or to be blessed (directly from the KJV footnote chapter 5, verse 3a). These specific blessings were given to Jesus’ disciples as “the blueprint of perfection” as stated by President Harold B. Lee. Although it is totally and completely impossible to become perfect in this life, we must always be striving to live the commandments of the Lord and continually seek to live righteously. We then visited two churches in Tabgha (meaning 7 springs if anyone cares) which honor, respectively, the loaves and fishes miracle and Peter’s mandate to “feed my sheep.” St Peter’s Primacy is a chapel built as a shrine to the resurrected Christ’s appearance to His apostles and where He shared a meal with them. In this church, the natural rock (on which the ancient meal allegedly occurred) functions as the mensis Christi or the “table of Christ.” We sang “All Creatures of Our God and King” to a fellow tour group who greatly appreciated our gesture. Last place, I promise. We crammed in so much in one day that it was absolutely exhausting and overwhelming. Capernaum was the base of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and was the perfect place to end an incredibly busy day. Although Peter was born in Bethsaida, he resided mostly in Capernaum. Jesus made Peter’s house his headquarters where he preached from its very door. Peter’s house, sometimes called “the house”, became Christianity’s first church. There are too many incredible miracles performed by Christ at Capernaum to recount so check them out in your good old Holy Bible. NEXT POST...classes along the beach and breath-taking views.