I have been in Israel and now am in Berlin. I waited to write until I left. I met during my time there with some Palestinian pastors who simply wish to be faithful in leading and teaching their people. I led a pastoral teaching time and discussion over more than four hours long. I knew things were different when I walked into the building and saw a symbol on the wall that pictured being grafted in and having the word Jews on it indicating their oneness in the body. It was a powerful time as we spoke about reconciliation between God and peoples, the first two commandments, developing community, leading, and being accountable to God as leaders. It was, in short, a special time, one of those moments when you know people get it. One man, who came to faith after years in prison, simply wants to help his people live in a way that honors God, even if it means great risk to them all. I could take no pictures because if these people's faces were exposed they could be chased after and killed by people who do not want the gospel spreading. One of the ironic things is that the radical nature of the opposing faith has led many to look elsewhere. So growth, even with the reality of social alienation, is taking place. Yet these people are caught in the middle, since their ethnic origin also leaves them without any substantial support in Israel. One piece of good news is that some of their financial support comes from believing Jews near them, another concrete proof of reconciliation and the power of the gospel to transform. There is much to learn here and that is why I enjoyed the time with these truly inspiring believers so much.
It Has Been Awhile Aug 16