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Categories: celebrant musings


Israel/Palestine is the center of three of the world’s religions.  With great expectation I packed to visit there.  Traveling with the Society of Biblical Studies promised a thoughtful and rich experience.

Two objectives stood out–placing the Bible’s stories in historical, cultural, political, economic, and religious context and hearing the voices of the Palestinians.  Both were met.

Did you know that a mis-translation led to the idea that Joseph and Mary could not find a place to stay in a middle-eastern Motel 6?  Rather, the guest quarters were full and they had to stay with the animals in a cavelike three-layered first century home.  Did you know that Jesus probably was conversant in several languages?  He spoke with Roman officials without the service of a translator.  Did you know that early archaeological excavations done in the late 1800s completely destroyed the areas they studied?  Did you know that one can visit a place where humans have dwelled for 19,000 years?  Did you know that some monastic monks were escaping from the temptations and abominations they projected on women?

Israel trip 671We visited a sustainable farm owned by a Palestinian family.  Although illegal Jewish settlements as modern as your town surround them, these folks have access to neither electricity nor water.  They are denied building permits.   A steel gate went up two weeks before we arrived blocking their most accessible road.  Their claim to the land has been in court for 16 years and they claim that as a victory.

A beautiful young Palestinean woman in line with me at a busy, unorganized, time-squandering checkpoint told me of her study of palliative medicine in Amman and the interminable lines that make going there more than a hassle.  She told me about working in a hospital with sub-standard equipment and introducing the idea of hospice care to those on life’s threshold.  I shared my volunteer work here and before we knew it we also shared tears and a final kiss.  She inspired and re-energized me.  Upon parting she declared that “No matter what, we, the Palestinian people, will prevail.”

I believe her.

Additionally, may peace prevail.

Another world is not only possible; she is on her way.  I can hear her breathing. 

–lyrics by Arundhati Roy and music by Kate Munger, Threshold Choir founder