APRIL 2019. On the second day of our 65-kilometer walk on the Jesus Trail in Galilee, I began feeling dizzy and faint. Berry, my hiking partner, told me to drink more water. That helped, and we were able to make our way from Nazareth to our next stop in Cana, site of a wedding Jesus attended.
But the Jesus Trail continued, often on narrow stony paths speckled with animal droppings, up and down hillsides, across streams of springtime water where thistles grew over our heads, through meadows of waist-high grasses, and finally up and over Mount Arbel leading down to the Sea of Galilee. Our destination was Capernaum, site of Jesus’ headquarters during his ministry.
Exhausted at the end of our hike and with blistered feet, I turned to Mark’s gospel. Already in 1:21, Jesus “went to Capernaum”; the next morning he “went to a deserted place to pray” (verse 35). Then he “went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message” (verse 39). I will never read the words, “Jesus went” the same way again. Not by horse, carriage, automobile, train, or plane. Not communicating by telegram, radio, phone, email, YouTube, or Zoom. Just trudging by dusty, sandaled feet, bereft of Nikes!
‘Lords of the world’
SINCE THAT HIKE, I have been pondering the Incarnation. Was it necessary for the Infinite One to go that far down? To be born a lower-class, brown-skinned, black-haired Middle Eastern Jew whose only means of transport was by scratched and calloused feet? To live under an enemy occupation determined to keep its subjects poor and politically powerless?