Journey to the Holy Land – Day 5

October 28, 2010

My mind is awhirl with all the things that I could write about today and it is difficult to choose just one since the day has caused me to reflect and reflect and reflect again…and still my understanding is so very limited.

The “living stones” among the Holy Land Stones, the places we hold sacred and which draw millions of visitors to this land every year, are the Palestinian Christians.  Their voices cry to be heard and through organizations such as the HCEF (Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation) their whisper in the wind is beginning to make a sound. 

When I spoke with a colleague professor about my upcoming journey and its purpose, he said to me, “Wow, I have never heard those two words together—Palestinian and Christian.”  And yet, the Arab Palestinians are the indigenous people of this land who lived and worked and walked in the same places that Jesus lived and walked and ministered. 

Perhaps a bit of history is in order.  The first Christians in the Holy Land were Jews (although I have also read that some members of the Greek Orthodox religion claim to trace their roots back to the Apostles) until the Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 led to the obliteration of Jerusalem and the Jewish Christians all but disappeared.  At this time, Rome renamed Israel–Palestine.  The Christian presence in the Holy Land returned after 313 with the conversion of Constantine which led to an influx of Christians from many nationalities including Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Egyptians, and Syrians.  Christians became the majority.

The statistics from the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem report before l948, the Christian population in the Holy Land was more than 18% whereas today it is less than 2% of the total three million Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinian Christians are caught in the cross-fire between the Muslims and the Jews and as a result of poor economic conditions, have fled their homeland in droves.  It will be a tragedy of the greatest proportions if the Christian population in the Holy Land is no more.

For over 40 years the people of this land have lived with war and conflict.  Generations have been born, lived and died and still there is no end in sight—peace continues to elude this Holy Land. 

Today I ask you to reflect on some of this information and to search further to educate yourself about the Palestinian/Israeli situation.  Don’t leave it to the media to provide you with a picture—draw your own conclusions—and along the way, begin to think of ways that each person can work to promote peace in the Holy land.

A friend sent me the following today via the internet and it touched me deeply.  I pray that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this time.

May today there be peace within you. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that
are born of faith in yourself and others.  May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom, Rest well.

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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