Just Thinking...Reflections from the Holy Land


Just Thinking ... 

The Holy Land is full of emotions for me. I was here 19 years ago with Bishop Fitzgerald. A great deal has changed. The Dead Sea has gotten smaller, more jars with scrolls have been found in Quran, the traffic has doubled, and the haves and have nots are more so. 

We are blessed with Jimmy, our tour guide, and with Hassim, our driver. They are taking great care of us and giving great nuggets of truth. Jane Brooks is leading our group well, and Bishop Sue is helping us laugh and grow in our authentic selves.  

Yet with all the joy and excitement of our time together in this holy place, I feel my heart breaking and my spirit getting angry. Walls, walls are everywhere. They are made of wire, or concrete, or wood and barbed wire. They are erected to keep people out or to keep them in their place. They have caused hunger, loss of family, poverty, and hatred. Walls divide people, and they build suspicion.

Seeing how these walls hurt our sisters and brothers in this holy land, I become angry for this un-gospel way of life. I am becoming worried that we in the land of the free and the brave will soon be doing the same thing. A wall is to be built to keep those who not like us, who are not as fortunate as us, who speak another language or who look different from us, to keep them out of our land of the free and the brave. Oh, my friends, seeing these walls here burdens me that we as a nation will do the same thing soon. I fear that, if we build this wall, it will only be the first and that we will build more in our communities to keep people in their place. 

We also have walls that are of made of invisible materials: fear, hate, envy, lust, selfishness, greed, and power.  We build them around us and even around our churches. Somehow we believe that we must keep our space pure and free of anything that we do not understand or like.  

I hear the words of the late President Ronald Reagan who said to the Russian leader, Boris Yetsen, "Tear down this wall, Mr. Premier."   I hear the words of Peter sharing how God spoke to him in a vision, "What God has made clean you must not call profane."  I say to you, beloved, as you lead our congregations, "No more walls!" Help our people be wall-demolition teams. Let us reach out with an open heart and open hands to all of God's people. Let us knock out the first board, the first break, with our preaching and our love. 

Praying for you as you do the work of the Lord.

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