Ground Zero – Part 2

 

In the Jewish tradition, Passover is a holy celebration that coincides with Christian’s Good Friday, Looking at the wall that surrounds Bethlehem, I doubt that anybody can pass over it.  As the old saying goes, this too shall pass. I wonder how long before it passes over, another 2000 years?

Bethlehem used to be part of Israel, but they gave it up to the Palestinian Authority. Most of the inhabitants here are Muslims, hardly any Christians.  The only Christians I met on this journey are other Christian pilgrims. We have to hire an Arab guide to enter. I don’t know if he is Christian.

The air is filled with hostility when we visited an old church.  The neighbors came out of their houses to ‘check’ us out. The church is locked.  After a few words with our guide and the Muslims, we found out that the key to open the church is in safekeeping with the Muslims. It took a while before they let us in.

It’s an old abandoned church where we prayed and sang songs. It was supposed to be a solemn celebration for us Christians. However, the Muslim turned on their loudspeakers to play the Muslim prayers. We have to sing louder than their boom box.  No blood spilled over this. Instead, we prayed for peace in their hearts.

I’ve often written about the celebration of life or death. Do you know that your presence with the dead during the funeral service is the most important part of our being similar to Jewish tradition? It’s a way of helping the dead find their final resting place. It’s the most symbolic act we perform. It’s more important than attending a wedding.

Bethlehem. This is ground zero. This is where it all started. This is the beginning. This is the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem.

Another year of Passover. Another Good Friday. Soon we will be celebrating Easter. Redemption.

p.s. It’s unfortunate to hear the news today of another protest along the Gaza border gone bloody between Israeli and Palestinians.

p.p.s. This too shall pass.

p.p.p.s. Ground Zero – Part 1

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