Today has been given over to studying and preparing my notes for the penultimate gathering of our study group with Knesset Israel re: One Land/Two Peoples. It has been an invigorating, challenging, insightful and at times heart-breaking encounter as we all wrestle through the truth of history and narrative for Israelis and Palestinians. It has also made the daily news a time of prayer, confession and all too often lament. As I have heard from both Israelis and Palestinians living in that region: this is truly something that only God can heal.
Our study - and the work of my friends Peter and Joyce and my colleagues at Music in Common - have pushed me towards the radical foolishness of Christ in my era. All the best minds, resources, ideologies and strategies have been employed to bring peace and a measure of hope to the two peoples of this one land - and it is worse than ever before. So, in addition to tears and prayers, study and the hard act of waiting upon the Lord, I find myself "doing" things that seem foolish and childlike - like celebrating and supporting the work of Music in Common.
Last summer I met some of the youth in this video: they were Jews, Muslims and Christians together. They are a tiny island of hope in a sea of violence and despair. One young woman said after the US portion of the shared music camp: when I return to Israel and face my time of military service (in one year) I will not be able to see my new friends as the enemy. She knows, like others, on both ends of the gun we are the same.
Tonight, when our class is finished, we may discuss next steps - one that we all are eager to explore involves travelling to Israel and Palestine together sometime in the next 2 years. Not because we believe that we will make much of a difference; not that we sense something is about to get better. It isn't. Perhaps it is more a witness - a pilgrimage - an act of gentle solidarity and quiet discernment.
To wiser souls, this all looks so foolish. There was a time when I thought so, too. But not any more - like St. Paul said: God has destroyed the wisdom of the wise... and since we did not know God through wisdom, God has decided to use what is foolish to make us whole... and God's foolishness is wiser than our wisdom and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
These past two years have been heart-breaking times for me on so many levels. And yet today I find myself rejoicing in this brokenness because within it I am learning to let go of my illusions of power. In fact, I am learning to rest in my weakness and the foolishness that can make us whole.
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