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Daily Thought for Advent

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meg was invited to submit a ‘Daily Thought for Advent’ for the Methodist Women in Britain website. As a long-stand member of the Methodist Church, and current Chair of the Methodist All-Party Parliamentary Group, she was happy to oblige – her contribution follows.

 

Hand-in-Hand schools

He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all—to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.

Ephesians 2:15-18

On a visit to Israel one project gave me real optimism for the future: the primary school at Kfar Kara. Based in an Arab village but having both Jewish and Arab pupils, it opened in September 2004 with 106 children ranging from kindergarten through to the third grade. The school went beyond the expectations of the members of the project - Jewish parents sending their children to the school in the Arab village to give them the experience of learning alongside Arab children.

The school is part of the ‘Hand-in-Hand’ enterprise which comprises four schools. While most Arab citizens of Israel understand or speak Hebrew, it is rare for Jews to speak Arabic. Each of the three schools is headed by two principals, one Jewish and one Arab, and each class is taught in both languages.

The children learned and played together as any other children. At recess three children, two Arab, one Jewish were hiding together behind a bookcase in a game of hide and seek. The schools try to foster better understanding of each community and help the children to face the realities of how they live - for example children talking about a bomb that had exploded near the school. One young boy was asked what he thought should happen to resolve the problems of the land in Israel and Palestine. In halting English he replied that everyone should sit down round a table and decide how to divide the land. What should happen if they can’t agree he was asked? Then no-one should have the land, was his reply.

Prayer

Almighty God,
You have committed to us the ministry of reconciliation of your son, Jesus Christ;
give us the confidence in your power to forgive,
as your son forgave us from the Cross.
Enable us to be witnesses of your forgiveness at work and where we live.
Unite us in a sacred fellowship to heal the hostilities we see,
and give us the grace to love one another,
rejoicing in this life together. Amen.

 

The Methodist Women in Britain website:  http://www.mwib.org.uk/

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