My Palestinian connections by Carl Mease
It was back in í81, while employed in Saudi Arabia, my wife and I met Nicolas and Mary. In a country where Christian meetings are outlawed, they were part of our home fellowship group, which was made up of expatriate workers from various countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We simply knew this quiet, reserved, older couple as being Jordanians, and their gracious son and family who was with Campus Crusade in Jordan at the time, who took us and our two small children in while we toured Jordan and Israel.
In those days there was an American brother who lived in Germany and came to Saudi occasionally on business, and he would stop by and bless our group with teaching from Godís word. On one occasion, in the course of his sharing he mentioned something to the affect that modern Israel is Godís chosen nation and people.
On this statement old Nicolas literally leapt out of his chair. With veins bulging he said; ďDonít tell me they are Godís people. My family and ancestors had always lived in Palestine, and in 1948 they stole our land. They burned our homes, shot our men, and raped our women. They ran us out of our own country, and we fled to Jordan. These are not Godís chosen people.Ē
Needless to say, it became a very long night, where two cultures and scriptural interpretations clashed. But, our God of reconciliation prevailed and the evening ended with hugs of Christian fellowship and forgiveness. I suppose Nicolas and Mary learned that night of the ignorance of the Western church of their history. The rest of us not only had a history lesson from an eyewitness, but left with a deeper understanding of how different people groups view the world and interpret scripture.
In 2008 I was contacted by a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem, requesting discipleship materials via Polyventure Publications. In the course of some e-mail exchanges, I found that he was very proud of his Palestinian homeland in the West Bank, and the future of his people. He spoke of how they are able to live in peace with their Moslem neighbors and build a homeland together. But, he eventually posed the awkward question, ďWhy do the Christian Zionists hate usĒ? Without going into further detail on the subject, but rather placing ourselves in their shoes and culture, I think we can see why a Palestinian Christian would perceive Christian Zionism as hatred toward them.
These are my only personal contacts with Palestinian Christians. My prayer is we can duplicate that night with Nicolas and Mary, and give our Palestinian brothers a true hug of Christian love, fellowship, support and understanding, and listen to what they may have to say about their own situation.