This past January, I was privileged to attend the “Hakimah” program at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem. We learned about the reality of living in this divided city from the viewpoint of all three Abrahamic faith traditions. Our teachers were three women-Jewish, Christian and Muslim-who were friends as well as educators. More than anything else, they wanted peace in the land they loved so much. As we visited the holy sites of all three faiths, we witnessed how these three women hurt for each other. We listened as they expressed a longing for peace in the land each called home.
A vision that will stay with me forever: We were in a church in Magdala, in the region of Galilee. We walked around exploring the many exhibits. I went into the sanctuary to take a photo, and I saw our Jewish and Muslim teachers sitting together, all alone in the empty sanctuary. As I watched from the entrance, the Jewish woman put her arm around her Muslim friend’s shoulders, and the two put their heads together and rested like that. I put my camera down and sat quietly, an unseen third presence, knowing I was on holy ground. For me, this was the peace of Jerusalem.
May peace live within my heart today and every day. Amen. — MW