Emmanuel- God with us, and THEM

One of Laura’s favorite quotes can be paraphrased like this, when we draw a line between us and them in the sand, God stands with them.  So much of the ministry of Jesus was centered around those who did not fit within the bounds of mainstream society. He cared for women, lepers, tax collectors, foreigners (including Roman occupiers), and many others. It is unusual to be in a place where physical walls, razor wire, checkpoints, heavily armed soldiers, segregated roads, ethnicity specific identification cards, etc. cause this “othering” to be so visible. 

On Wednesday, our group visited Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum and memorial. Yad Vashem is a place which always stirs my emotions. I feel great anger, shame, and melancholy that this disaster was allowed to occur. It is also distressing to me the extent to which many people of faith were complicit in the Holocaust (and are complicit in the modern occupation and dehumanization of Palestine and the Palestinians). Disturbing are the many parallels which may be drawn from the content of the museum to current events, both in the Holy Land and in some prevalent political ideologies in the United States. 

I am disheartened by humanity’s unwavering ability to divide itself into groups of us and groups of them. I pray that someday, we will be able to recognize, as Jesus did, that they- Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, Muslims, refugees, immigrants, etc. are no different from “us”.

-Bjørn 

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