Sometimes, like the Wise Men, we have to go away from home to discover the truth. That’s what happens when I go to Israel and Palestine. It is the miracle of pilgrimage. I receive the gospel—God’s good news of love and reconciliation—in a place most people think of as turbulent, conflicted and violent.
But that’s not what I find there. I find forgiveness, reconciliation and hope—the very same message Jesus preached on those lakeshores and mountaintops 2000 years ago. I find Palestinians willing to forgive the violence done to them in 1948 and 1967 and daily at the checkpoints. I find Israelis ready and eager to move on, to let go of their own awful suffering and make peace for the sake of justice for Palestinians, whose land they now call home.
And most amazingly, I find both Palestinians and Israelis—Jews, Muslims and Christians—ready to forgive me for my part in financing their suffering. Opening their homes and their hearts to me is the gospel-good-news of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness—a miracle of healing in a suffering world.
Yesterday I felt the same miracle of healing as I walked rainbow-decorated Colfax holding my sign, “God loves everyone!” And wearing the “Gummy Jesus” crucifix Lee gave us (see photo - Gummy Jesus Celebrates Pride in Denver).
Gummy Jesus on the cross understands what it is like to be rejected, persecuted, spat on and beaten. And the crowd knew it. I watched so many people as their faces lit up when they read the words.
They cheered, photographed my sign, shouted “Yes!” They were so happy they hugged Michael as he worked the edges of the crowd along the parade route. I wonder if Jesus’ disciples held up signs and hugged the crowds on Palm Sunday. No wonder the crowds cheered and waved palms!
Yesterday the gospel was preached at St. Paul at 8 and 10:30, and Saturday at 5:00, and the congregation, good disciples all, carried the message out into the world, preaching it all the way down Colfax and into Civic Center Park at our booth. And the thousands who heard it KNEW it was good news and they shouted for joy.