Jewish and non-Jewish convergence in the kingdom through a common identity which frees the witness of the believer from its embodiment in a particular linguistic, cultural or ethnic framework allows the believing community to exist simply as the people of God wherever they find themselves. In this way the good news of the gospel’s saving power is spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth and carries with it the hope for a peaceful society and a reconciled world.
The proper goal of the memory of wrongs suffered—its appropriate end—is the formation of the communion of love between all people, including victims and perpetrators. Imagine this as a suspension bridge in which the roadway hangs on a concrete arch anchored on both sides of the divide. The roadway is the reflection on memory. The arch that upholds the roadway is the process of reconciliation. The anchors that support the process of reconciliation are on one side the death of the One for the reconciliation of all, and on the other the hope for the world to come as a world of love. Perfect love is the goal of memory. And when that goal is reached, the memory of wrongs itself can end. Put simply, love is the ‘end’ of memory in the twofold sense of that term.
During this Easter and Passover season, people from around the world will be flocking to Jerusalem. This year will be especially crowded as Easter for both church calendars in the Western and Eastern traditions falls on the same day. Palm Sunday is this week, and thousands of visitors and local Palestinian Christians will walk down from the Mount of Olives, through the valley, and up into the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a truly moving sight, with groups of people from all over the world waving palm fronds, singing songs of worship and celebrating the ministry of Jesus and his entry into Jerusalem. It is one of the most vibrant celebrations in the world marking the final week of Jesus’ physical life on earth. You can get a glimpse of the celebration at the end of our video: The Work of Musalaha.
Reconciliation is not possible unless we are comfortable with who we are, and can open ourselves and create space to include others in our identities. Our encounters provide a forum for participants to learn about each other, focus on their common identities, and in the context of relationship, focus on differences. As we learn about one another and our similarities, we begin to open ourselves to embrace. The challenge is then learning the problematic aspects, and wounded parts of identity. It is our goal to help participants learn about one another, and learn the shortcomings of their identities. Only through mutual respect, self-awareness and humility can the reconciliation process move forward. Together these allow us to reclaim our identity and stand mutually affirmed in our identities so we can move forward stronger and more confident of who we are apart and together.
An exclusive focus on the end times and fulfillment of prophecy or on justice and liberation can never be the full picture. Pursuing either one alone, outside the context of the cross, will lead to violence, exclusion and rejection. Whatever our theology, we have to remember God’s love, and God’s commandment for us to love each other. Our aim should be unity through Christ’s love and through the cross, as Jesus called for in John 17:21, saying, “that all of them [believers] may be one, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
The Bible is full of stories of humans interacting with God. Among these interactions, we see hurting people turning to God: asking why, asking for healing or mercy, and pouring out their hearts to God in their confusion and pain. Hannah, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Peter, Jonah, and even Jesus expressed strong feelings to God and those around them. Psalm 32:3 says “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” Part of dealing with strong emotions of pain and hurt is letting it out, and expressing it to God and trusted friends.
Memory makes us who we are. In the course of our conflict, painful memories have shaped who we are and who we are becoming. But in reconciliation, non- remembrance and a certain type of forgetting play a constructive role in our perception of the world and our conflicts. In order to remember rightly, we must remember that memory is provisional, and be willing to remember redemptively and truthfully, embracing self-criticism and doubt when confronted with clashing ‘truths,’ and be willing to see with ‘double vision’ from both our own perspective and the other’s perspective. It is not an easy task, but it is a challenge we must undertake for the purpose of reconciliation.
Musalaha takes the opinion that forgiveness is a unilateral decision, and releasing one’s negative feelings toward the offender is necessary, regardless of the offender’s willingness to repent. God will hold the offender responsible for their actions.
In this article we examine power and try to define it, looking at different kinds of power and how they appear in our lives. Different sources of power are also discussed, and we explore how power relates to people in conflict with each other, especially concerning the imbalance of power. Obviously, those who have greater power have the ability to affect those with lesser power; however, as we will see in this chapter, everyone has power to a certain extent, and the ability to make their power felt. We analyze the different ways power can be put to dangerous uses, as well as its positive aspects, and try to look internally at our own lives and situations to see what our relationship to power is.
This article will discuss some of the obstacles to reconciliation, including physical, emotional, psychological and ideological obstacles. The information provided is by no means comprehensive, and will primarily focus on the obstacles we find most common in our work.