All in Theological Reflections
Pain and heat seared my eyes, while the kids screamed at my feet. I rushed to the hospital, both for myself and for my son who had also been hit in the eyes. It was a freak cooking accident. As the pain subsided, feelings of guilt and discouragement washed over me. I also wondered, Why both of our eyes? However, the doctor’s words are what will be seared into my mind more permanently than the scars we endured:
As Christians, we believe that as a community we should get along, yet at times we fail at implementing this ideal. On a collective scale, there are significant differences between the Messianic Jewish community and the Palestinian Evangelical community regarding how we view peace and how we put it into practice. Of course this is a generalization and there are individuals who think differently than the majority, but collectively, we are moving in distinctly opposite directions.
It’s a new year. 2014 was awful. 2015 was just as heavy, perhaps not in numbers, but in proximity as the violence crept closer to me and mine. As we come to 2016, I wonder what awaits us now. I close my eyes and think what could be if our leaders abandon their current destructive trajectory, if my people would join their voices to demand that our government bring an unexpected but much-needed peace, if Messianic Jews would take a prominent role in seeking and pursuing peace in the Holy Land.
In this dark season our hearts turn to the ever rising sun where, day upon day, it rises from the embrace of the night. So it is with our souls-mornings do come, whether misted, fogged or bright. In this season of long nights, the star from the East once rose, lit the night sky, sent Magi on their long journey, seeking and finding the promised One who came to illuminate the darkness with his presence, the promise of deliverance. He has come and his light shattered the power of darkness forever. In this place where it all began, we carry this ever bright reality in the midst of a fallen world and an increasingly perverse generation.
Whether plants or people, there are times and seasons in every life. Each one has its beauty and its blessing, its pain and sometimes sorrow. Summer in Israel/Palestine, with its unending, relentless heat, dryness and desert winds, seems an overly long season this year. Perhaps it’s the tedious stream of almost daily, or at least weekly, “incidents” that plague our region, or the flow of ludicrous statements from our politicians, or maybe it’s the way the world looks on and loudly trumpets its opinions about everything that happens here.
I sit down with a sigh of relief. Kids asleep. Kitchen clean. Now for a few minutes of relaxing, then I will focus on writing and catching up on various unfinished projects.
The Central Bus Station in Haifa was shaded on this hot summer day. I was grateful. I bought a can of Diet Coke and the first lotto ticket of my life. I sat down to wait for the bus to Jerusalem.
Peace has to be one of the most misunderstood and elusive concepts in our world. Everyone talks about it, but few have any concept of what it means. In Israel, we say shalom (peace) when we meet someone and when we say goodbye to them. When we greet one another and say “how are you;” we are literally saying “how’s your peace?” We frame our relationships with words of peace, yet the very prevalence of the word seems to empty it of meaning, trivializing the enormity of the concept.
When you live in a country like Israel/Palestine, identity, labels and reputations suddenly become a very big part of your life.
When I read this passage, I see a God who is ready to fight oppression so that the whole world will be blessed, very different than the view of God that many people are given, as mentioned in part 1. In a region where some blood seems to be deemed more precious than others, it is no small thing that the blood of the oppressed is not forgotten by God Himself.