May 8

As I sit here in the comfort of the computer lab, the sound of Greek traditional music floats through the air of the Dar Annadwa Center (Dar Annadwa meaning; House of World Wide Encounter) It is Friday evening after a long but satisfying day. This most certainly has been another day of listening to story and observing the complexity of the issues that make up the daily reality of Israel/Palestine – contrasting claims and desires.

Our journey began this morning with a ride to Jaffa where we were engaged by David Lazarus, pastor of Beit Immanuel, a Messianic Jewish congregation that has it’s roots in a Mennonite witness in Israel. His word for us was to recognize more fully the roots of the Christian experience. That there has been a struggle for identity (and locus of authority) across the centuries in understanding the fullness of God’s story of salvation. As Jewish believers in Jesus, the inclusion of historical Judaism and it’s expression as Jewish believers under girds the Christian witness in this land.

After a wonderful lunch in Jaffa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, we traveled back to Jerusalem. There we were engaged by The Rev. Niam Ateek of Sebeel Ecumenical Liberation Theological Center, an ecumenical group dedicated to bringing local and international attention to the situation of the Palestinian community and advocate for a just peace. To paraphrase Rev. Ateeks, the intent of Sabeel is to serve the Christian community by working together, encouraging Christians to stay in their tradition, and to work toward understanding, respect and acceptance of each other. This most certainly includes the relationship to all persons living in this land, Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Between the two conversations, much thought, many questions and prayerful reflection remains.

Evening prayers, lead by Joel, brought together the days journey well…Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit)!
– on the journey, Kevin Clark