The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

Change the World

photo of Carol

Two weeks ago, I sat on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

I was fortunate to be included in a “Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands” sponsored by Columbia Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian school near Atlanta. With a group of 18 other people, a mix of clergy and lay people, we spent two weeks in Israel. Our first week was in Galilee and our second week was in Jerusalem.

photo of a shoreline of The Sea of GalileeThe Sea of Galilee is a lovely body of water, and much more of a lake than a sea. For someone who was reared near Michigan’s Great Lakes, the Sea of Galilee’s modest size of approximately 13 miles in length by 7 miles in width seems to justify the term “lake”. Nonetheless, our tradition is to call it a “sea”. One day as I sat by the sea, I imagined Jesus and his disciples walking the rocky shore. I remembered the words of our guide, who explained that Jesus’ ministry was limited to only a portion of the shore and nearby region; other parts were inhabited by Romans. Jesus taught and healed in a limited section of a small lake in a narrow country. Sitting by the sea, it seemed like such an obscure location from which to change the world. Yet, it is the location that God chose.

Your present location -- at work, at home, in the community, in the place and time in which you find yourself -- in the grand sweep of history is also rather obscure. And yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, God calls us to change the world from our obscure locations. Jesus opens the way to new life and the reign of God; by the grace of God, we are to reflect this new life to the world around us.

This reminds me that, “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

May the peace of Christ be with you.