"It is a pleasant thought that when you help a fellow up a steep hill, you get nearer to the top yourself." - Reynolds Price.
Some days ago the newspapers reported on a ravaging fire in Israel that claimed 41 precious lives and scorched acres of land. Firefighters and the people of the area braved the flames to stop more damage. The best part of the team effort was the joining of Palestinians in the firefighting. Setting aside age-old rivalry and rancor, they offered to help their adversaries. What a beautiful act! What a wonderful way of expressing oneness in the face of danger! Do we see a window for peace in the monstrous wall that separates them? We hope that out of some evil, much good will come.
We are reminded of the parable Jesus told - The Good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite, walked past the wounded man. Supposedly, they had their reasons. Along comes a Samaritan, whom the Jews despised. He stops to succor the wounded man. He does not shun him. Instead, he sees a fellow in distress and willingly helps. Are we seeing the parable in action, 2000 years after Jesus narrated it? In their rescue effort are the Palestinians giving us a sign of hope? Is a candle being lit which can light other candles?
Often we are caught up in a war with our adversaries. We malign them; plot their downfall; and delight in their misfortunes. We believe that we have scored a point.
Watching us perform our children learn to gloat over the failings of those who oppose them; speak ill of them; and in their own way scheme to put down those who were friends till yesterday, but have fallen out today. What a tragic commentary to our parenting efforts!
When people in Israel and Palestine can light a candle, will we join them in lighting candles in our own homes?
In this season of goodwill we wish you a blessed and peace-filled Christmas and a hope-filled New Year.