For prayer time this evening each one of us wrote a prayer to share with the group. I was asked to share mine as it seemed to capture much of what we experienced today. We appreciate your prayers for us and ask that you would hold the people of this land in your prayers as well.
I don’t know how to begin to capture the experiences of today, experiences which may take a lifetime to come to terms with, if ever.
Riding out of Bethlehem this morning, the place we have called home, I realized how familiar it has become – the sights, the sounds, the smells. I began to wonder what it will be like to back in my quiet, comfortable home? How will I be able to share the story, the song, of these warm hearted, brown eyed people? Who will want to know about the uniqueness of these Palestinians? Yet, I remember that you are God, the Creator, and you will not forget your children. Help me, God, to hold them in my heart.
Soon I am sitting in a home not so different from mine. Lush, plush…manicured lawns, paved streets, clean…and yet I seethe with anger. “This land is my right”, says the man who lives in the settlement, demanding his rights and not seeming to give thought to how he has gotten where he is and who he has stepped on to get there. His words are smooth, there is no need to argue. Has he wondered how the Palestinians feel? Has he considered that while he has the freedom to come and go, the people we pass each morning on these streets have been stripped of their freedom? He says, “Sovereignty belongs to the Israelis!” God, where are you?
Then I realize that I too am guilty of overlooking the marginalized in my community. How easy it is to forget that I am sometimes no different from that Jewish man…I weep and seek forgiveness.
Finally, we arrive at At Tuwani, and I love it, I can breathe again. Rocky, dusty, and hospitality beyond description. I think this is a gift only you can give, God. Bowls of lentil soup, beans, bread, given and prepared not from abundance, but from the heart. God, I saw you in the eyes of the women as they watched us with joy eat the meal they so graciously prepared. Just as you give abundantly more than we can ask or imagine, this simple village on a hot, dry hillside, filled my weary, depleted heart. God, the air has been breathed into me at this place…there is so much to learn, to process, to live.
Then, Hebron. The boys begging on the streets for us to buy just one little trinket. How does a mother watch her sons beg, as the high and mighty sit above throwing rocks and dirty water them, chasing them away? I did not buy anything, yet I left a piece of my heart there.
“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down…all of us have become like one who is unclean, all of my righteous acts are like filthy rags…yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are clay, you are the potter, the work of your hand.” Is. 64
I come seeking forgiveness, praying for your love and mercy and compassion and grace to rain down on this place. May I never forget how I have seen you in the least of these.
Shalom, Dawn Monger