Thoughts on the pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine

Nadine’s thoughts on her pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine

In the first week back – October 10, 2013

  •  A collage of impressions is my attempt to capture my feelings about the pilgrimage.  These continue to challenge my equilibrium.  As a person of faith, God is involved in all the details and I continue to wrestle with the clash of “tawdriness and transcendence” that some of the most treasured holy sights evoked.But I have learned again about an “allowing God” and it is no use asking questions like “how could He?”• There is a part of me that is patient with goodness and evil – “a part of  me that stands vigilant and patient in the tragic gap which almost every moment offers” (Richard Rohr)- that stands in awe not just at the Dome of the Rock but in crowded shrines, churches with promises of Jesus’ touch, and in the crowded Palestinian camps where lives are crushed by poverty and denial of possibility and in the Hebron market where Palestinian shoppers and merchants have long been abused by Israelis throwing garbage and debris into their midst in an effort to discourage their livelihood.

    • Access to the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock guarded by Israeli soldiers and permission granted to only the few.  Security gates and soldiers granting limited access to the plaza and massive retaining wall believed to have supported the Second Temple – the Wailing Wall which is in fact a “thin place” inviting reflection and prayer.  Who is restricted from these places of prayer and why?   Who choses those who are allowed and those who are kept out of these holy spaces?

    • The Sea of Galilee – at times calm and then bouncing with white caps.  Was this the place of Jesus calming the waves?  At night Compline, singing in the church of the Sermon on the Mount.                                                              Sea of Galilee - MEJDI Tours

  • Sea of Galilee – MEJDI Tours
  • • Brave Palestinian NGO leaders who work to create healthier outcomes for the children, mothers, workers, displaced families who have waited for 60 years with a fading hope for restoration of human rights.• Jewish pacifists who step outside the actions of Israel to advocate for a “just peace” and human rights for all.  Palestinian prisoners and their families who wait in fear and dispair; those held in administrative detention, with no charges brought.  Israeli and Palestinian and expatriate volunteers protesting the building of barriers and re-building houses destroyed by Israeli tanks; visionary Palestinians and expatriate volunteers providing drama, dance, art and hope to current and next generation refugees.

    • The Palestinian family, with deeds of ownership dated from the Ottoman Empire for their 100 acres of farm land have created The Tent of the Nations.  Their hospitality to talk about and learn about peace – their efforts to protect their land and the environment with the planting of trees, low impact waste solutions, and solar panels on top of the only building allowed on the property under Israeli law.

    • The generosity and hospitality of our Palestinian hosts – food and lodging and conversation in Burqin and Jenin.

    • “Dual Narrative” pilgrimage – one young Jewish Israeli guide, and one senior Palestinian guide, risking their safety and a potential criminal record to pass the security checkpoints between disputed lands.  They travel with us to interpret “foreign” territory and conflict.

    “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:)

Nadine

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