There is a great line at the end of the Gospel of John. He writes: "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." How about that for a final thought?
My trip to the Holy Land was slightly less monumental, OK monumentally less monumental than John's or Jesus', still it's important to identify when when is when.
Here are some final thoughts and some action steps.
|Hunter Lambeth is a difference maker|
First, consider supporting Young Life in the Middle East. As Obama mentioned during his last visit - if peace is going to happen, it's going to happen with the youth. What happens in the future to the Middle East depends on what the youth determine to do about it. And there is no better avenue to peace than the love of God. I don't care if you're Jewish, Muslim or Christian - love was, is and always will be the answer. This is at the heart of Young Life.
|Yousef is a difference maker|
Second, we need to care for those who are oppressed and being treated unjustly. The United States government gives more aid to Israel than any other country (to the tune of $400 billion a year). This is Israel - who has the third largest army in the world, whose median income is ten times greater than its Palestinian neighbors, who has been taking land in the West Bank when and where it sees fit, who are building a wall, a wall that we Americans are contributing $2 million a kilometer to pay for...it's crazy. All this while the Palestinian people suffer.
Readers, put aside your Zionist tendencies and remember first and foremost that we are called to support the poor and powerless, the widows and orphans, the oppressed and harassed - this is clearly the Palestinians. They deserve to see firsthand what loving thy neighbor looks like.
Fourth, before giving money to a cause, make sure you know where it is going. There are people on both sides of this issue who have profited from well-meaning Americans not willing to do their homework.
Fifth, support a two-state solution. Understand that the path to peace is going to appear as if it is requiring more concessions from Israel than Palestine. Don't be fooled. They are the ones in power - they are in a far greater position to offer concessions. The Palestinians have very little to bargain with. We need to help Israel understand they will be better off by losing some ground for the sake of peace. That is a very tough pill to swallow. But join me in praying that clear heads will prevail.
That is only the beginning, I'm afraid. The Palestinians have no clear governing body, no military, and a failing economy. Palestinians are going to have to allow the international community to bring in peace-keepers, to ensure free and fair elections, and to fight the radicals in their numbers - for the sake of peace. This will also be a very tough pill to swallow. Pray for this as well.
Thank you again, Hunter, for organizing for us this trip of a lifetime. Until the next one. Ned is signing off.