Many years ago when I was in the Middle East, I traveled with a group of seminary friends in Israel. This was in the summer of 1982 when Israel was at war with Lebanon and the Arab/ Israeli conflict was diminished, but simmering just under the surface of everything. The Palestinian markets in Jerusalem were shut down in protest while we there and the only Palestinian newspaper was raided by Israeli soldiers. The group I was with did a lot of traveling to see settlements and to listen to the voices from both sides of the conflict.
One day we were traveling by bus from one part of the Jerusalem to another. Two small boys got on the bus and sat down together. One was clearly Jewish and the other Palestinian. They were friends. They told each other stories and laughed and showed each other things in their backpacks. One of the young men in our group, Wes, engaged them in conversation. Wes asked how they had become friends. The Jewish boy said he liked his Palestinian friend because he was different from his other Jewish friends. The Palestinian boy said he liked learning about new things from his Jewish friend. Wes asked if they sometimes got in trouble with the other boys for being friends across these ethnic lines. They just shrugged. They said they didn’t care. Wes said, “You know, you are the best hope for peace in this part of the world. Do you know that?” he asked. They actually both grinned and said, “We know.”
I think the world changes and peace comes to us one kind person at a time… one unusual friendship at a time. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14: 27.
Peace to you,
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