Broken Land, Day 5
For those of you who may not know, allow me to take a moment to tell you about the nature of this trip to Israel & Palestine. It is a joint venture between #sheiscalled, a ministry branched from the office of Women's Transformation and Leadership within the Reformed Church in America, and the ministry of Josh Vis and Sally Vis who are passionate about providing immersion tours to Israel and Palestine to, along with visiting the holy sites, open eyes and hearts to the realities of occupation. Take a few moments to explore their website and learn more about their passion and approach.
Though today's site visits were amazing, interesting, and insightful, they were also eye-opening in a way I sensed was coming (due to the pre-trip recommended reading and viewing), yet still was surprised by. There is a lot churning in my spirit tonight as I try to wind down to get some sleep and be prepared to dig even deeper tomorrow, but the primary churning is anger. Righteous anger. Helpless anger. Baffled anger.
Be grateful you live in a country where you are treated as a human. We are not treated as humans here.
Those words were today's first gut punch, and they landed hard. It was the first gut punch of the day, but it was not the last.
As we walked back to our bus from our last stop of the day, I had the chance to talk with Sally about some of my observations and she shared with me the sentiment that she doesn't feel she can even call the area 'the holy land' anymore. I then interjected this statement, "It's the broken land." Together we lamented the truth in that statement.
It is a broken land where water is owned by some and, for others, is turned off for days at a time. It is a broken land where certain areas have signs preventing people groups from entering specific territories. It is a broken land complete with a wall of separation (ring any bells?). It is a broken land in which resources are hoarded. It is a broken land in which certain families never enjoy a full night's sleep for fear of an impending night raid.
Trying to reconcile these realities with the experience of walking where Jesus walked is a lot, and something I will be working on for a long time. That, in fact, is the only thing I can say for certain.
So, for now, I'll leave you with a picture from our last stop of the day, the boat museum and boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Our group shared communion out on the water and we were gifted with a truly breathtaking sunset with Mount Arbel as the backdrop. It was a moment of refreshment, renewal, peace, and hope.