From the Land Where The Three Abrahamic Faiths Meet
At full moon, in late October – it’s colder now –we went to the roof of the Mariam Bawardi Elementary School and took this picture with the Church of the Sermon of the Mount in the background. The church is part of the campus of the Mar Elias Educational Institutions where we are volunteering, through Pilgrims of Ibillin, for the school year. When you have time, please check out our blog for updates on our activities, complete with pictures.
It is easy just to give Christmas greetings and act as if all is ok. In fact we know that it is not. Recent events in the US and Gaza and ongoing events in other places, especially in Palestine/Israel, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan (add your own), remind us that peace and justice are not present in our experiences, and that the “fear not” extended to the shepherds in the fields in Beit Sahour is a most needed experience for us in our age. Philosophers have categorized different ages in different ways; it seems our age is the “age of fear,” with its attendant building of walls and barriers, not bridges. We echo the prayer of Walter Brueggemann (Prayers for a Privileged People):
You, you beyond the smell and the din and the smoke.
You, beyond our hopes and our hates.
You, our beginning before time, our end beyond time
Be present in ways we cannot imagine.
Be present – save us from our power
save us from our violence,
save us from our fear and hatred,
save us as only you can do.
Save us as you have before saved us —
in love and power
in compassion and justice
in miracle and in waiting
Save us because we are your people
and because this is your world.