Friday, July 16, 2010

Lutheran youth visiting Israel and Palestine post reflections

There is a wonderful array of pictures, video and personal reports from the the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Holy Land Youth Mission at this website -

The ELCA/ELCJHL Holy Land Youth Mission is traveling in the Holy Land July 7-22 with 11 people, including six high school students and young adults, to develop relationships and a better understanding of the life, faith and realities of our sisters and brothers in Christ and others who live there. This initiative grew out of the Southeast Michigan Synod’s tradition of taking youth to the Holy Land to visit their international companion, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) -

The group is meeting with ELCJHL youth and visiting groups working for peace with justice, learning about peace-building in the realities of occupation and will learn about advocating for justice and peace upon return home. This initiative also is an outcome of the heightened interest in the Holy Land generated by the Bishops’ Academy trip there in January. You can follow the journey here or on Facebook at ELCA/ELCJHL Holy Land Youth Mission -!/group.php?gid=127509912072

Frequency of posts will depend upon internet capability.

On July 13 Pastor Julie Rowe began her entry this way:
"Unity in diversity. Diversity in unity. Steps away from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christians from around the world come to the empty tomb of Jesus, the English-, Arabic- and German-speaking congregations of the Redeemer Lutheran Church celebrated worship together, speaking and singing the same words and songs of faith in their own language. We stood and sang, the same melody, yet different languages, cadences and consonants colliding, finding it difficult yet magical in a way, being able to share favorite words and hymns together yet separately. For some, it was too hard, for others it was interesting and inspiring.

"So it is with us here, Americans in Jerusalem visiting our Palestinian Lutheran companions. We are one faith, one body, one baptism, yet live such different lifestyles and cultures. But united melodies run through us all: when one member of the body suffers, we all suffer. When one member rejoices, we all rejoice. We follow the One who breaks down the walls, the barriers, the hostility, through truth-telling and justice-making, and calls us all to be messengers of reconciliation.

"Yet as one member of the group asked today, "How do we really make peace when people are treated so unequally. How do we make peace when one people is subject to occupation by another? Is it really possible?"

Read the entire post at this web link:

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