We were able to schedule a last-minute meeting today with Nadal Abu Zuluf, one of the creators of Kairos Palestine. It's an ecumenical group of driven Christian Palestinians dedicated to bringing the story of the occupation of Palestine to the rest of the world. They have created a unifying statement of solidarity to bring peace and reconciliation to the people of Israel and Palestine.
The military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.
For more details, www.kairospalestine.ps
Today was a day of goodbyes to the people that taught us most. Abraham--our tour guide and Elias--our driver showed us a Palestinian Christian insider's view of the Holy Land and its people. We've seen the sites and the real people, unvarnished, warts and all. They shared their knowledge but more importantly, they shared themselves and their friends. They gave us a rare glimpse into real life on the ground.
Tourism is big business to the Holy Land and there are some that would like to see it be Disneyland Jesus, Mohammad, and Yahweh Adonai. The Abrahamic traditions all intersect in this Holy Land and it is incumbent upon us all to unify in our diversity and care for the land protecting and projecting equality for all of its peoples. They say the 5th Gospel is the Holy Land and its peoples. Indeed it is, but nobody gets backstage at Disneyland.
We were able to slow down between the checkpoints and meet the people where they are. We talked to people whose land is affected by the settlements. We talked to people in the settlements and on both sides of the wall. We met their families, students, and some of the children. They just want a shot at the world, and the apartheid state is systemically and systematically wired against them.
I'm thinking of some ways to debrief this trip with you. There's just so much! Not enough time or space in a blog to cover it all. What I really want to do is come back sometime next year and bring as many of you as possible. You've just gotta see it for yourself to be immersed in it, to feel it.
God is here. I promise you that, but you gotta look hard. And when you look that hard, you see a whole lot more than you bargained for. You see the occupation through the God lens and all God's children, too.
I can't wait to get home and tell you all about it.
Grace and peace,