The peoples of the Holy Land are held very close to my heart and in prayers before God. The situation they face is complex in the extreme and all peoples, Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, Jew, Christian, and Muslim, suffer.
The poems offered in this book are those written at two significant moments of discovery. The first at Auschwitz, tracing a Belgian family lost in the Holocaust, when I discovered the true meaning of God with His people and what it means to be part of God's family in Christ. I also understood more fully the 614th commandment and determination to survive that prevails amongst Jews in Israel: a determination strengthened by anti-Semitism through the ages and the Shoah in particular.
The second was during a visit to the Holy Land, teacher training in Gaza, where I witnessed the fear and pain of the Palestinian people, their suffering and their wish to survive and thrive. A wish that echoes that of their Israeli brothers and sisters.
Most of all I understood the deep hurt caused to Christian Palestinians, forbidden the right to travel and worship at the Holy Places of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
These poems reflect one person's journey of discovery. As you read them I ask you not to take sides but to hold all the pain of all peoples in the Holy Land up to God. Hold them before Christ who weeps over Jerusalem still and pray earnestly for peace.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Here is the introduction from Rev. Maria Shepherdson's From Both Sides Now: Poems for the Journey -- Auschwitz to Palestine: