I went to Israel when I was 23 years old. My friend and I were deeply impacted by the hostility we saw there between Palestinians and Jews. Hostility that was evidenced in military harassment of Palestinians, in the way Palestinians were denied access to water, or were refused building permits, and the way Israeli settlements were being built on land stolen from Palestinians. Hostility that was evidenced in acts of terrorism, that made everyone afraid and nervous.
So when I decided that I was going to Israel this year, I wondered what it would be like to go back almost 30 years later. What has blossomed? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not peace. What has blossomed is a wall, a big giant concrete wall that separates people. Before there was separation, but now there is Separation on a different scale. The wall is the fruition of all the other earlier types of discrimination. When I went and saw the wall I just wanted to kick it and say, “This is so stupid, stupid, stupid!” How can the world tolerate a wall like this, when our world just finished tearing down the Berlin Wall?
This week in church we’re going to be talking about walls of hostility. Maybe there aren’t giant concrete barriers in our lives, but we certainly have invisible walls and iron curtains of prejudice and discrimination. Maybe we are even doing the preliminary work of creating concrete walls. How does Jesus challenge these walls in our lives? How is peace coming to the world through our actions?
This week’s prayer: Today we pray for all whose lives are affected by walls…the concrete kind and the invisible kind. Open our eyes to our participation in wall-making. Help us to hear your call to wall-breaking!