Red Seaside

The geographies in the Holy Land themselves are a sermon. Nazareth, where Jesus was raised, is in the mountains. Capernaum, where Jesus performed his ministry, is on the sea. While mountains are interesting for visitors and passersby, for permanent residents, the mountains are fixtures. The mountain in the distance might as well be a painting on the wall. It is inexorable and secure, and it is predictable. In Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, under the mountains, Jesus had a solid upbringing. He went to synagogue and worked in his father's wood shop. Perhaps he traveled with his father to the nearby towns for business, but he was always rooted in holiness and obedience. Jesus had stability. If we were to characterize this with a color, we would say Nazareth was the color blue. For blue, like ice, denotes resoluteness.

A sea, on the other hand, is always changing. The tide and clouds roll in and out, schools of fish come and go, and plants and wildlife are present and adapt to the weather. There are sunrises and sunsets, along with different patterns and textures to the sky depending on the atmospheric conditions. In Capernaum, a dynamic locale, both on a human and geographical basis, Jesus' life was like that constantly shifting sea: healings and miracles one day, sermons the next; pleasant dinner conversations here, intense theological debates with the Pharisees there. If we were to characterize Capernaum with a color, it would be red. For red, like fire, denotes energy, passion, and instability.

Jesus was formed by both Nazareth and Capernaum. We, too, have both some stability and instability within us. Lent, a season in which we wear purple, the fusion of blue and red, is the perfect time to grasp our identity.

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