Today was spent around the area of Galilee and Lake Tiberias – a region with two of the four holy cities for Jews, Tiberias associated with the element of water, and Sefad associated with air.
It is also the place where Christians remember the earthly ministry of Jesus.
For me this was a day where I heard some of the foundations on which inter faith relations can be based. From the Benedictine brother’s word from God that we all need to hear ‘you are loved’, to the inner secrets of Jewish mysticism, ‘come my beloved’, I was reminded that when I know in my heart that I am loved it is easier for me to reach out to others.
And this continuation of the rift valley is a good symbol for where we meet God in our own deepest places. This is also a border zone – a place where we are out of our comfort zones, and where there can be potential for conflict. Travelling through the Hula Valley was a stark reminder of the fragility of peace.
It was a day when we were reminded of the many pathways to God – the streams flowing into the one lake; from the quiet meditation of the monk, to the enthusiastic storytelling of Mordecai the rabbi in training, to the artistic mystical explorations of the Kabbalah.
Finally our visit to a kibbutz took me back to my student days when this was seen as a new model for living, and gave me cause to reflect on what the models might be for today. There were clues in today’s journey – inter faith dialogue cannot begin until basic needs are met is one; reaching into our own depths and awareness is another; and keeping listening to the other a third. For we all must be humble enough to respect our neighbour, and recognise that none of us has the whole truth
Margaret Lunan trained as a teacher after graduating at Aberdeen University, and worked for fourteen years for Christian Aid in Education. Her husband is the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.