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Walking the footsteps of Jesus

mathabelazitha/the anvil :BY ZII MASIYE

And when He gave sight to the blind, he warned them not to tell anyone… But alas, each on recieving his miracle would run and jump on rooftops, shouting and testifying of their joy and glorifying the Son of Man!”

You would swear there was some conspiracy to hide the truth, for indeed the world’s most precious stones tend to hide deep in the belly of the earth. So tiny and so fine is the print of the Bible, so thin and flimsy the material that the living word is writ on, so ancient and so nuanced the text and language. You could read a million newspapers and thousands of books and theories that the world throws at you every day, in search of excellence and, in a hundred years never quite find yourself going through a single page of the bible. Just about everyone has and proudly carries a copy around… there, in every lobby and headboard locker of every hotel room , you find it, always new , always clean… the most important, most available yet the least opened manual of life! Except for that KB Ncube’s mandatory Bible Knowledge class back at O’ Level, Sobukhazi, and an academic interest in the writings of Paul, Mark and Luke, my interaction with the Word of God, my knowledge of the Bible could be described as pedantic, poor, none existent. Where knowledge is zilch, there might well be awareness and desire, but the ability and wherewithal to practically execute the lived principles of Christianity is wholly dependent on untested faith and whimsical hunch and the sincere journey of the Christian remains radarless and may hardly take off.

There has always been, to me a perculiar sense of enigma about heaven and things of faith, an outward and upward sense of remoteness that connects practical earthly reality to a dreamy ideal of a heaven above the sky by some precarious flimsy thread!

The whole conversation and architecture of biblical settings, nomenclature, habitats and the goings and comings of Jesus Christ , the places and synagogues He traversed, though sincerely believed, existed less in the reality realm of my brain as they did in that heavenly sphere of “the ideal”.

The opportunity to get the nativity of Jesus, to walk through the Holy Land, to see the Jews described in the Bible in their natural habitat, partaking in the prayerful groanings of The Wailing Wall; emersing oneself in the practical feel of Bethlehem and the Manger; reliving, at the very crime-scene, the actual betrayal and condemnation of Christ; experiencing the Way of the Cross and its multiple stations through Calvary to the Holy Sepulcre; touching Golgotha and meditating on The Empty Tomb of Ressurection; sitting in the lounge of The Last Supper and praying like He must have done in the Olive grove of the Garden of Gethsemane; the riveting opportunity to sink through the Gallicantu spiralling tomb-cum-dungeon into the depths of His defiling indignity and pain; I prayed for those moments to rekindle themselves in me and to count…

Travelling through Jericho and getting the true feel of Wilderness of Judea and the steep mountain caves and monastries that embellish the imperious Mount of Temptation where He would have fasted all of 40 days, I am myself such a slave of carnal temptation; visiting the Tree/ Shrine of Lazarus in Bethany; getting the opportunity to immerse oneself in the saultiest sea in the world, at 1 300 feet below sea level, the lowest accessible point on this planet, the Dead Sea; sailing on Sea of Galilee in Tiberias and getting to see and feel where He walked on water, where He fed the 5 000 with a couple of fish, where he turned water to wine, where he gave sight to the blind and raised the dead to life, I sought to feel the miraculous hand or Jesus in my own multiple jeopadies and the woes of my country and my people. Getting to Cappernaum, the Home of Jesus, seeing and praying in ancient remains and the very synagogues that Jesus Christ used to teach in, there reminiscing on the repertoire of Jesus miracles and getting to sit in the ancient remnant of St Peters house; visiting the incredible Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee where the Sermon on the Mount occurred. Scripture has it that at the very last, Jesus retreated with His disciples to a secluded mountain away from Jerusalem. We drove half a day to the Holy mountain. There’s no climb like it in the world. At the peak of Mount of Olives, the Mount of Transfiguration, He is said to have blessed and commissioned the disciples, handing over the key to His earthly mission to Peter before they watched Him transfigure and ascend to Heaven. This was a ten-day practical experience of the Life and Times of Jesus Christ. It was the closest anyone could come to the most basic empathy with Christ. I felt all the time that this is it, there cannot be more. This is what Reverend Reuben Mabhena always so passionately preached to me about. I let myself yield and rendered myself vulnerable to the piercing presence of the Lord. Riveting! Humbling! Sobering! Nothing could rip the soul apart more! It is an experience that should and could never leave anyone the same.

Yes, family and friends are all anxious and loaded with anxiety and questions what this was all about and what it means to me, as a pilgrim. I repeat that I went there with a very open heart and a curious mind in earnest search of a sincere reconnection with my Lord and spiritual compass. I was truly overwhelmed.

There is nothing more pleasurable and more deep -searching and uplifting I have ever done. It was way too heavy and too packed a load of spiritual experience to contain in 10 days and now a couple of weeks later, my brain and my heart are still processing and getting true perspective. I never prayed so much for my family, for Bulawayo and for my country. By the time my feet touched River Jordan, my soul wanted nothing more than the experience of Jesus at being baptised, right there by John. May all the beautiful angels that chaperoned me be blessed.

For I am blessed. So blessed!

l Zii Masiye ( writes elsewhere on social media as Balancing Rocks.

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