In October, a group of Israeli and Palestinian youth went on a journey to Mount Tabor and Nazareth. This is part of the Land where many biblical events took place. We were able to hold this encounter as there were overlapping holidays in the school calendar for both Israelis and Palestinians– something that is a constant challenge for Musalaha, as there are different calendars for the different schools, with different national and religious holidays. We were very happy to have the time to spend together as a group.
We decided to climb Mount Tabor because climbing together provides an opportunity for the youth to get to know each other better and build relationships, while having fun and also relying on one another.
Mount Tabor is known in Christian tradition as the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus the Messiah. It is very interesting that this event, focusing on the identity of Jesus as we see in Luke chapter 9, is then related to Jesus sending the 12 disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God. As a result of this, people and leaders like Herod wondered about the identity of Jesus. Following this, we see several events through which Jesus communicated who he is. Such events, like the feeding of the five thousand that resulted in Peter confessing that Jesus is the Messiah, were directly related to the focus of Jesus' identity. We also see Jesus’ warning to the disciples that he would suffer and be rejected, killed, and raised on the third day. So, the transfiguration comes in the context of questioning the identity of Jesus, and the price required of those who follow him.
Our identity in the Messiah sometimes comes with the cost of rejection from our home cultures. Coming together is a major source of encouragement for the youth. It also is a declaration to society about their identity through their unity across various boundaries. Many of the youth on the trip are followers of Jesus and face pressure from their respective communities. Being on Mount Tabor encouraged these youth that they can and should hold on to who they are, despite the pressure and rejection from their communities– and who they are includes the expression of unity in the Messiah, as seen during the journey up the mountain.
This encouragement needs to be repeated often, as the messages from the world that question the youth's identity bombard them daily.
Praise God: From 17th to the 21st of November, a group of Israeli and Palestinian young adults participated in an encounter in Greece called “Footsteps of Paul” (we’ll write about this in the next email newsletter)
This coming weekend is a special Musalaha Women’s commissioning conference for ladies who have been involved with Musalaha for more than 10 years, and have completed Musalaha’s reconciliation leadership training program.
Praise God: Musalaha facilitated a youth leadership training weekend in Jericho the first weekend of November with the theme of: “Addressing the challenges youth face in our society”
We are looking for a scriptwriter to help us with a video project that addresses prejudice and discrimination.