Further Reflections on My Trip to the Holy Land

Posted: February 7, 2013 in Theology, Things of Faith

Several weeks ago I began a brief reflection about my trip to the Holy Land. Above is the story of a Christian Palestinian family whose faith is inspiring hope for God’s kingdom to come (in the Holy Land). Daoud is one of the beautiful people I had the opportunity to meet and talk with on my journey. I hope you are able to catch a glimpse of one story that has led to a growing passion in me that will be expressed in the following paragraphs.

I closed that particular entry (Sojourning in the Holy Land) with a statement about the source of hope in that land. I said that it wouldn’t be solved through political maneuverings but by the people determined to love their neighbors. I still believe that the source of hope isn’t in political power and influence but in those folks committed to living a different way. As a follower of Jesus and a citizen of the US, it is also necessary to clarify that in as much as hope lies in obeying God’s command, I am equally convinced that Christians around the world, including the US, have a stake in what is happening in Palestine and Israel. With this we have an obligation as well.

The Holy Land is not some amusement park that a person goes to visit to have fun. It is a land and people with deep ties to the Abrahamic faith. This is not about threats to tourist attractions but to the land and people from which our faith emerged. That small region represents the origins of the Christian faith.

For decades many US Christians have thrown their full support (both political and fiscal) behind the modern Israeli state to the exclusion of the other Palestinian peoples. The theological heresy of dispensationalism was a fundamental influence in shaping the US Christian mind leading it down a path which would lead inevitably to the persecution of other Jesus followers. In addition to the theological contributions, the US media has often contributed to this inequity by the general characterization of the Palestinian people as terrorists. I am not claiming that there are not extremist Palestinians nor extremist Israelis, but that it is unjust to generalize a characterization of a few to cover a whole people.

It is time to take off the blinders and say yes! to supporting and offering care for both Palestinian (Christian and Muslim) and Israeli alike. It is time that we use our voices to influence a peace process that ensures equity, justice and security for all the peoples of the Holy Land. However, it begins by becoming educated as to the geo-political complexities. It requires listening to people on all sides. Listening is requisite. To simplify the situation ignoring its complexities will only lead to further injustice, violence and war. If Christians are to respond faithfully, it must begin by loving the people on both sides.

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