As we enter this Thanksgiving day, we are given the chance to slow down for at least a day, to catch our thoughts as they rest from a busy and eventful season and to find gratitude within ourselves and through the people and circumstances surrounding us.
This Thanksgiving greets us fresh after an election that created much discourse and civil unrest within many communities throughout the United States. Earlier this month, reactions to a much apprehensive election highlighted concerning fractures in a nation far from united.
America has been bleeding for a while. Our ears and eyes have ached watching an upset nation cry out for justice in the “Black-Lives Matter,” “Cop-Lives-Matter,” hostilities. The gift of democracy has given voice to differing ideologies and individual plights of justice. It is the outcry resulting in violence that we lament. The election and the tumultuous months of debates led to a diverse and hostile climate within America once again.
Today is the day we open our hearts to gratitude. While unsettled and uncertain, what exists today and every day is a God who says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” (Ps. 136.1) And that goodness comes without condition, He has invited us into his will to “Give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
For the community of Millennial Voices for Peace, we have come together to lament the hostile division in our nation and we have given light to concerns for our future, but as we have opened our hearts to gratitude, we have found a bounty to be thankful for as we consider the non-violent peace ambassadors in the conflicting nations of Israel and Palestine.
We are thankful for those leaders that continue to remind us that peace is possible. You give us encouragement during divisive times. We would not have tangibly seen the power of God’s reconciliation if it was not through the hands of those resiliently laboring the hard work of peacemaking in the holy land.
The leaders of Millennial Voices for Peace have expressed their thanks to those who have personally inspired us to carry a heart dedicated to seeing peace practiced in Israel, Palestine, our own nation, and throughout our world.
We Give Thanks To The Following:
Tent of Nations
“I remember visiting Tent of Nations, where I heard the story of the Palestinian family, the Nasser’s, and their dream to turn their farm into a place of reconciliation. Instead of hating the Settlers that are their neighbors, they have invited them over for dinner and to see the farm. They told me that God commands them to love their neighbor; he never said it would be easy. They also host a kid’s camp for children of any race and nationality who have been raised in a conflict.”
Musalaha and Rabbis for Human Rights
“I am thankful for Salim Munayer and Musalaha. The conviction that reconciliation is born out of relationship is changing lives and hearts for peace.”
“While in the Holy Land, meeting and working alongside people like Salim Munayer (Musalaha) and Rabbi Arik Ascherman (Rabbis for Human Rights), as well as others, lifted my spirits. They speak and act out of a spirit of conviction and higher purpose to create a better world for everyone, not just their own ethnic or religious community. They are a significant source of hope, and encourage me to continue doing my part. They carry on when no is watching or listening, regardless of the difficulty of the situation, and that is something to be thankful for!”
The Parents Circle
“I think back to the first time I saw The Parents Circle in a documentary: a group of parents (both Israeli and Palestinian) who have lost children because of the conflict. Instead of letting their grief turn to hatred and violence, they mourn and support one another.”
Christ at the Checkpoint
“I am thankful for Christ at the Checkpoint for opening my eyes to the multiple narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the peacemakers who modeled powerful and life-changing love in the face of great opposition.”
“I am thankful for Grassroots Jerusalem organization started by an Israeli-man to help give Palestinians resources and a voice in a city where they do not have one.”
“I am thankful for the friends who first told me that there were peacemakers in the Holy Land. Like many people I know, I had assumed that the conflict in the Holy Land was intractable and that the Palestinian and Israeli people were totally opposed. It was through stories told me by friends who had spent time with Israelis and Palestinians on the ground in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, that I began to see where I had misunderstood.”
Those who have gone before us
“I am thankful for the generations of ambassadors for reconciliation who have gone before us. Their model of fervor and commitment, against all odds, has carved a path for us to walk today.”
On behalf of Millennial Voices for Peace- We Thank You!!