The Present of Presence
There is something central about the reality of Jesus as the embodiment of the divine. Christians absurdly believe in the story that the one who created it all is most fully revealed to us in a first century man named Jesus; and that same Jesus tasted, quite literally, the utter humiliations that humanity faces.
It is in the echoes of that, hopefully, that most Christian ministry takes place. And ad we've been traveling through the regions, this vision of incarnation, of Godly enfleshment, has been one of our anchors. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we have been reminded of the physicality of the Biblical stories. As we have met and worshiped with Christian communities, we have engaged the living stones and have, I hope, represented the body of Christ well.
Everywhere we have been, we have been reminded of the story where Philip invites Nathanael to meet the Messiah. Nathanael is very skeptical. Rather than argue with him, though, Philip simply says, "Come and see." In other words, don't take my word for it. Go and check it out for yourself. We have been following in these footsteps of Nathanael. It is not necessary to buy into one narrative or another in this region. The best thing to do is to come and see for yourselves. Walk the Emmaus Road; you will most certainly be joined by the presence of the living Lord.
One ministry we heard about was the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. A project of the World Council of Churches, EAPPI is a manifestation of bringing the presence of Christ to places of great anguish. Checkpoints, places where the Wall/Barrier/Fence is evicting people, anywhere that people can be helped by the presence of internationals, showing care for the local Christian communities, all of these are ways in which the EAPPI accompanies people in dire need.