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"Blood Brothers"

Dear Friends,

In my continuing peacemaking education, I recently read the book Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour. He is a Christian - a Palestinian priest who grew up during the formation of the state of Israel. His family is part of a Church that dates back to the very beginnings of Christianity. It has been very helpful for me in coming to understand, in a very personal way, how the conflict has affected, and is still affecting, the Jews and Palestinians living in the area. Here's one story:

A man had asked Elias, who was his pastor, to come to his house because his mother was dying. After her death, Elias said to him, "We must surely invite your four brothers to come to see the body before she is buried." The brother responded, "We hate each other so much, if you invite them, you will have five funerals on your hands." This was an example of the animosity between people, even within families, in this village.

Later, in the middle of the worship on Easter morning, when everyone was at church, Elias walked to the doors of the church and chained them shut. He told the people, "We all know there is a lot of reconciliation that needs done here. And I know I can't do it, but Jesus can." There were ten minutes of silence while three nuns prayed. Then the brother mentioned above got up and confessed his hatred for his brothers. His brothers then came forward to hug him and each other. This was followed by the whole church spending an hour hugging and confessing to each other.

It has really challenged my understanding of peacemaking and of Jesus' call to love our enemies to read about Elias applying this call in his life. I call Elias the Martin Luther King Jr. of the conflict there, as he works at reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis, in nonviolent ways, at the grass roots level today.

Elias' personal faith is something I want to emulate in my life. I strongly recommend this book to get an understanding of the conflict there from a Christian, experiential point of view.

Pray for:

1. My upcoming slide presentations in California and Oregan, 10/19-11/6, that the Lord speak to all of us as I share about peacemaking.

2. That I may listen with openness to others who have very different viewpoints from my own.

3. Elias Chacour and his work.

Give thanks for 25 invitations to share about peacemaking.

Peace to you today,

Jim

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