Feb. 28: Others’ sacred ground
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Abraham truly was the father of many nations. Sarah was a mother of nations as well, although she is not recognized across as many religions. This past summer I witnessed the true diversity of Abraham’s nations.
I spent the summer in Bethlehem, Palestine, along with seven other Goshen College students, with the family of a college friend, learning about the conflict and culture there. We were fortunate to be able to spend a day in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was such a juxtaposition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim culture. I, as a Christian, visited the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques, and it was one of the holiest experiences of my life.
The Western Wall of the Temple was not the temple of my peoples’ history, but it was a holy place of prayer and mourning of what was lost. Al-Aqsa Mosque is not the mosque where the prophet of my peoples’ history was transported by angels, but it was a beautiful and peaceful place of reflection. I am a part of the peoples, these histories, even though I am Christian. I can learn about my own faith by thinking about issues that other religions raise. These nations are not as different as we might think. We can still see the holiness of the others’ sacred ground.