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.
People feel their societies are in bondage, suffering from the pangs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is hopelessness all around. People feel as though they are in bondage to the situation, walled-in and cannot escape the problems that encompass a life in the midst of the conflict whether it is the occupation, terrorism, separation barriers, low-income employment and more. And thus Israelis and Palestinians have fallen into a state of hopelessness. Their assumption is that they’ve done everything such as engaged in war, had power, attempted peace and nothing works, all efforts are perceived as a failure and there is nothing that can be done to resolve the political situation.
Though our society is in bondage and the people are filled with hopelessness, people in the land are remembering God’s deliverance of physical bondage from Egypt as well as deliverance from spiritual bondage from sin and death through what he did for us on the cross. But our message is more than just about deliverance.
God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt so that they would no longer be under bondage and so that they would become a society transformed to walk according to his statutes. They were not only led to the desert to find God, but to become a society that would be built on mercy and justice. The children of Israel were once strangers in a strange land, but when they were to come to power they were instructed to not only care for themselves, but also for the marginalized and the weak. God warned them that he intervenes on behalf of the oppressed as he heard their cry in Egypt, so he would also hear the cry of the afflicted.
The passion of the Messiah is the most profound display of divine intervention in God rescuing the world from the bondages of eternal punishment, fear, hatred, and death. But our Savior’s death on the cross is so much more than deliverance, it offers us hope and gives us the opportunity to rise again to new life. And as a part of our new life in the Messiah, we can love unconditionally for it is the love of the Messiah that compels to love and reach out to the least of those in our communities and beyond. It is through God’s deliverance that we have the ability to become agents of change, transforming our societies.
So for us as Israelis and Palestinians who see the political situation at this moment as an entity bound in fear and hatred, we need to remember that God is Lord of all history and he is engaged in history. Only through him can we proceed in the ministry of reconciliation.
In Reconciling All Things, Emmanuel Kataongole and Chris Rice write that “God’s ‘way in the desert and streams in the wasteland’ are not easily seen or perceived. God is always planting seeds of hope, always doing something new and fresh – but not in the ways we expect, look for or even desire. When the world’s desperate search for success masks a desire to short-circuit the journey of reconciliation, we fail to recognize and live by God’s more radical vision of hope and transformation. This vision is nothing less than the hope of enemies and strangers becoming friends and of all becoming God’s companions. It is a vision of hope grounded in the unseen.”
So, during this holiday of reflection, we must continue to hope in him and prepare our hearts to be ready for his visitation because God is working in ways we cannot see. We must refrain from hardening our hearts like the Egyptians so that when he does appear we will be sure to recognize him.