As many of you are aware, I’ve recently come back from the Holy Land. I know it seemed like I was away for a long time, I’ve miss you all as well, but I only missed one Sunday (promise). I wouldn’t call it a holiday because of the type of group it was and some of the things we went to see, it was a pilgrimage. As well as all the holy sites you would expect to see on a trip like this, I also got to see many of the places that are not often seen by us in the west and a side of the troubles out there that are not often reported on.
I admit I went out there quite ignorant about the situation, and I didn’t know what to expect from this trip, but I can honestly say it was life changing. One traveller said that she went out there blank, but comes back an activist, and in many ways her feelings ring true for me.
Alongside places like the Church of the Nativity, the Sea of Galilee, and the Mount of Olives, we also visited Sindyanna Women’s Organisation, Jeel al-Amal Boys’ Home (orphanage), Hope Secondary School in Beit Jala (who St Peters will be helping this quarter), Wi’Am who work in nonviolent conflict resolution, Aida Refugee Camp, St Matthews Anglican Church and clinic in Zababdeh, and we spoke with an Ecumenical Accompanier at the Separation Wall. We saw the effect conflict and separation has had, and the results of warfare and violence.
Many of these places are still with me at heart and I’m sure will remain with me. And I warn you all now to prepare for sermons where these people and places feature (I feel them brewing)! But seriously, I do look forward to being able to share with you some of these places and the stories of the people I met.
Among the violence and conflict there are voices of peace and hope. Many have not given up their hope of living peacefully within the Holy Land, and we join our prayers with theirs. I ask that you do pray for those Christians in the Holy Land, especially those who live in the West Bank and all those who are working for peace.