Why would anyone go to Palestine and Israel for a sabbatical? It seems complicated doesn’t it. Just like the situation in Palestine and Israel, it all seems so very complicated.
I’ve been involved in social justice issues throughout my 20+ years in ministry and this issue did not really jump out at me at first. It seemed so complicated and so far away. Then I read the Kairos Palestine document: (http://www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf.) Suddenly, I was cast back to my days as a student at the Atlantic School of Theology. Back then, I was forced to turn down an invitation to go to South Africa and work with one of the signers of the first Kairos document. It has always felt like a missed opportunity. After reading Kairos Palestine, my interest level changed when the Palestinian church leaders invited other Christians to come and see. It seemed like an invitation I had to seriously consider because I truly do believe that at the heart of the scriptures is the call to work for peace with justice.
The stars have aligned and I will be in the West Bank of Palestine as a human rights observer from Feb.- April with the World Council of Churches (WCC) http://www.oikoumene.org/, Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). http://www.eappi.org/
I hope and pray I will be able to faithfully share the story of our Palestinian & Israeli brothers & sisters and the struggle for peace with justice with some people through this blog.
It will be an amazing opportunity to be in the occupied Palestinian territories during Lent and Easter. After all, this is where Jesus was executed by an oppressive empire some 2,000 years ago. More important – this is where he was raised and the tomb was found empty.
As I sat in my final interview the Gaza was a war zone. Since then, the Palestinian state has been granted observer status at the UN. Then the Israelies are now talking about building 3,000 new homes for settlers in East Jerusalem and the surrounding area. It all seems so complicated.
There are two things I know: First, that God stands with those who are marginalized and oppressed. Second, it all seems so complicated.