At the beginning of March I had the privilege of hosting the a student delegation at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. From the beauty of the Mount of Olives to the sacredness of a meal shared with our Palestinian and Israeli friends, we moved through this land with a desire to know it's history and it's people. We moved through this land, not simply to see the holy stones of millennia's past. OK, I know that Jesus was born here and died here - got it - but last I checked that's not how the story ends.
No, the story of Jesus is not about tombs (for more information see the New Testament) it's about NEW LIFE. It's not about martyrdom, but freedom. Indeed, as we read beyond the cross, we find a body of the living Christ that no tomb, or chapel, or church, or sect, or even religion can hold. Sorry to say it, but you won't find Jesus languishing in the grave, staying safely within the comfort of your scriptural interpretation, or helping you as you pour concrete around any political worldview. That's the problem with Jesus, he just doesn't stay put look like that. To know him you have to get out of the cold tomb and get into the nitty gritty stuff of life and love. You have to laugh with those who laugh and mourn with those who mourn. You have to break bread with real people.
This is the journey the student delegation was interested in: not a journey of easy answers or taking sides, but a journey of love, relationships, listening, learning, and acting; A journey of bread and wine and hummus and earth; A journey into the dark places of human greed, racism and intolerance; A journey into joy and sorrow; A journey into the power of truth, love and reconciliation.
Sadly, this video is only a shadow of the story. It's fun and for our family and friends it will be a glimpse into the wider community we now call our own, to us it is a reminder of journey that was nothing short of earthshaking. It's a reminder that this journey has just begun.
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