Leaning over the Biblical Atlas of Palestine in New Testament time is a humbling experience. Lydda, Joppa, Caesarea - the footsteps of Apostle Peter in these days’ readings. What he covered between these cities is about 40 miles.
We are in the comfortable position of reading these pages through quickly. It is an effortless journey to the mind. Yet, we can sense looking at these distances what an effort lies behind what produced these chapter in the Acts (Chapters 10; 11). Even two brief passages, nay a single sentence, show these efforts and real encounters.
Toiling for the Kingdom of God is the medium of faith. Even more, joining these efforts of prayer, meetings, goings and comings, is the birth, is the entry into the fullness of times what the first disciples experienced. (That is why the daily liturgy and prayer life, struggling through the appointed readings as our work, is the precondition to enter the intensity of Biblical faith.)
The Acts of the Apostles show that the whole of Palestine was full of the presence of Jesus. As if the physical air was mingled with the active air of grace. Everything was transformed into the opportunity of recognising the Jesus.
This is the miracle of surveying the Biblical Atlas… Colours, names of towns, regions, rivers, and hills. As if every round dot of a settlement had preserved the lives of those people, the presence ‘of the saints.’
What if, when God’s angels leaning over our present maps see the same richness of real lives, the same unfolding story of awakening into Christ, our truer self, taking place right now?
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..