Hope from Palestine

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Dear Friends: He said he came not to bring peace but a sword. And Fox saw the ocean of darkness before he saw the ocean of light.

I’ve been thinking of what the recent election means for us and the sense is increasingly that the event is not so much a change in the conditions of our country as a revelation of an “ocean of darkness” already there. I think we all feel there is work to do, grounding to search for, a new call to our meetings to find their reason for being, their promise and their task.

Oddly, it is dwelling on the plight of the Palestinians that has brought this home to me in a new way. The Christmas reflections of Jean Zaru, clerk of Ramallah Friends Meeting, remind us that the new world is already at work among and within us, that the sumoud [resilience] of Palestinians is the courageous and continuing affirmation of this reality – in a place and time where the ocean of darkness is all so evident. Perhaps in these times of division here we have a chance to see what we are really made of, and the strength of the Palestinians may inspire us to face the challenges ahead.

The weekend of February 24-26, not far off, Max Carter will offer a weekend workshop at Ben Lomond Quaker Center (www.quakercenter.org), based on his work in Palestine over the years. I am hoping that Friends in West Coast meetings who are drawn to Middle East concerns might make efforts to attend this workshop.  We might even join there in creating a community network among us that could serve as support and encouragement as we seek ways to serve the people in that region, and ourselves, in the year ahead.

– Jim Anderson, Chico Friends Meeting (PYM)