Walking where Jesus walked

Posted in Blog, Israel

Friday 22 April I drove Sheila, her sister and our niece from our guest house

overlooking the Sea of Galilee north to a beautiful setting overlooking the lake.

Here, at the Mount of Beatitudes, our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount is


The site is beautifully kept with lawns and flower beds. In 1937 they built a

church to a design by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi. We have enjoyed

visiting several of his churches while in Israel.

The church has fine views of the surrounding countryside through the

horizontal windows in the lower walls. In the upper windows they have written

the eight Beatitudes. Outside in the garden the Beatitudes are written in many

different languages.

We sat down in the warm sunshine outside the church and I read the Beatitudes to my fellow pilgrims. All around us the atmosphere was reflective and some visitors were making good use of areas set aside for worship.

We drove on to Capernaum and saw the ruins of Peter’s house so well known

to Jesus while he made Capernaum his home and base for his Galilean ministry.

Back at our guest house I thought of Leo Tolstoy who, in 1884 at the age of 56,

wrote his book What I Believe in which he set out his Christian beliefs and how

they had been overwhelmingly influenced by the Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy took from Christ’s great sermon his doctrine of pacifism. How sad, I reflected, that neither Russia’s current leader, nor it seems the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, has followed Tolstoy’s teaching.

I am writing this in Israel towards the end of April. Maybe, before you read this, the church in Russia will have a change of heart and remember the insights of one of the world’s great novelists and Christian convert.