We just want to reflect on the upcoming holiday season of Easter and Passover and share with you some of the exciting events taking place at Musalaha and our most immediate prayer needs.
Nearly three weeks have passed since the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians began in the Gaza Strip. The suffering and devastation are great. The number of Palestinians and Israelis killed and wounded is insurmountable. The trauma, pain, and wounds inflicted are not fleeting. Both Palestinian and Israeli believers are caught in the midst of the crisis.
To both Israelis and Palestinians, the current conflict in Gaza has brought nothing but pain and suffering. It has also caused friction among some believers as they choose to pledge sole allegiance to their own people group. Some are even expressing an unabashed hatred for the other side through articles, e-mails and graphic content on Facebook.
Feet are very important for everyone, but especially for soldiers. It is with your feet that you either stand your ground, and resist, or retreat and run away. We are to clothe our feet with the gospel of peace, and take it with us everywhere we go, to reconcile with God and with each other. Many believers hear the phrase ‘the gospel of peace’, and instantly think vertically, of peace between God and man. But real peace, as it appears in the Biblical context, requires horizontal peace with fellow man in addition to peace with God.
Two children were fighting in the park next to my home. Minutes before they had been playing football and enjoying each other’s company. They had a disagreement that lead to an unbelievable barrage of curses. It was amazing how the curses they unleashed were full of passion and anger. Not only did they curse each other, but they cursed their mothers, families, ancestors and homes. It seems that demeaning and degrading comes more naturally to us as human beings than blessing one another. Cursing is not just a habit for young children, but also adults do so in more sophisticated and refined language, or privately in our minds and hearts.
The cross has a unique role and function in this land where 2,000 years ago, Jesus was crucified. Followers of Christ in Palestinian areas and Israel are essentially a minority amidst the Jewish and Muslim majorities. As so much of this region is defined by the conflict between groups, believers in Jesus look to Him as a basis for reconciliation. While Muslims and Jews reject the cross, believers who pursue reconciliation are seeking to fulfill Christ’s prayer for unity in John 17:21, so that their testimony of unity will reflect His work of reconciliation.
We and others who are involved in reconciliation have observed certain trends when Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews enter into a reconciliation process. The journey towards reconciliation has often occurred in several stages.
Over the past several months we have been working to update some of the chapters in our curriculum of reconciliation Some of the issues we have been researching further are the meeting of justice and reconciliation (there can be no reconciliation without justice, and not justice without reconciliation), and how forgiveness relates tot eh public and political spehres. I have been going through Donald Shriver, Jr.’s bookAn Ethic for Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics.
This past week, as America commemorated the tragedy of 9/11, much was said about the gap between the Western world and the Muslim world.
The current conflict between the Israeli military and the Hizbollah has been escalating in the past weeks, seen not only in the growing number of casualties, but in the displacement of many Israelis and Lebanese and in the destruction of infrastructure.