After checking out the skyline for the past couple days, today was the day we finally got to wind through the narrow bustling roads of the old city.
Early this morning we worshiped in a small chapel in the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, met some fellow English speaking pilgrimaging Lutherans, and then headed to the Holy Sepulchre around the corner. When reflecting on our visits to holy sites, some have mentioned how they have noticed the worst come out of people while waiting impatiently in long lines to see a certain holy site. While others noted the beauty in the range of people from all different regions of the world coming together and experiencing these places. I tend to agree with my peers and I feel that there is beauty amongst brokenness here.
This theme continues as we visit with two representatives from the Parent Circle. The Parent Circle is a group of Israelis and Palestinians who have lost a loved one due to the conflict. This group meets together to share their stories and develop programs to connect Israelis and Palestinians. After hearing these painful, real, stories about a Palestinian suicide attack and IDF soldiers killing a father of two over a traffic accident, we see an Israeli and Palestinian morn their loved ones together, sitting side by side, which is very rarely seen in Jerusalem, both of them striving for peace.
Beauty amongst brokenness.
We spent a lot of time reflecting today, with one question asking what holds us back from being who God created us to be. Our group intimately shared our personal brokenness with one another. And the beauty comes in our continually growing relationships with each other. At dinner today we were all enjoying one another’s company and roaring with laughter with the confusion of a moist toilette being a mint (you had to be there).
Overall, I am learning to love this beautiful, broken place. In church this morning we sang the hymn “Healer of Our Every Ill” which is a song that me and my brother played in church on the piano as a duet 10 year ago. Now, side by side me and my brother sing this song together as we prepare to lead people back to this land. The words of the chorus can speak to the brokenness “Healer of our every ill, light of each tomorrow, give us peace beyond our fear, and hope beyond our sorrow” Indeed it is through God that I see the beauty, and hope, as we strive for peace in this broken land.