HEBRON: Out of the depths

December 6, 2001
HEBRON: Out of the Depths. Ramadan Reflection #6
By Claire Evans

[During the month of Ramadan, November 16-December 15, members of CPT
Hebron will be fasting from sunup to sundown along with their Muslim
neighbors. The team will post periodic reflections during this time.]

On Sunday, December 2, the 17th day of Ramadan, the First Sunday in Advent,
our team woke to news that there had been two suicide bomb attacks and a car
bomb in West Jerusalem overnight, killing 10 Israelis. Before the day was
done, a bomb on a bus in Haifa had killed thirteen more.

On Monday evening, my teammate Mary Lawrence and I broke our daily fast with
Palestinian friends in Hebron's Old City. Our hearts were lifted as the
couple's seven children greeted us joyfully, the little girls pulling us by
the hand, inviting us to come in.

As we finished feasting on chicken and rice, stuffed vegetables, tomato and
cucumber salad, and sweets, the father turned on the TV. More bad news:
Several Israeli missiles had hit
targets in Gaza.

On Tuesday, we CPTers did morning patrols on the streets of
Hebron. Everyone we talked to agreed: it was bad news, very bad news
indeed. By then we'd heard that the Israeli military had fired more
missiles on Ramallah and Gaza, and had re-entered four West Bank cities.

Yesterday, Wednesday, CPT Hebron vigiled for peace on the street corner by
our apartment. We hung two signs saying, "Praying for the peace of the
cities," (cf. Ps. 122:6.) One sign faced the market where Palestinian
shopkeepers sell chickens and produce, and one faced Shuhada Street,
frequented mostly by Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers. In front of each
sign, between rolls of barbed concertina wire and cement blocks set by the
army to prevent access to the market, my team-mates and I sat and prayed for
an hour.

As a cold rain fell, I meditated on the words of Psalm
130: "Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord." What do I know of
the depths of the sorrow, of the fear, of the darkness of an uncertain
future faced by the people here? Those who lost sons or daughters in
Sunday's or Tuesday's attacks, or the parents on both sides trying to
envision a future for their children, know the depths, the darkness, the
living within the black cloud of this warfare.

"Lord, hear the voice of our supplications!" Hear the cries of all your
children, all the sons and daughters of Abraham: Muslims, Jews, Christians
who inhabit this land!

"O Lord, if you marked iniquities, who could stand?" No one could stand! No
one is blameless! The time has past for assigning blame. God's forgiveness
is our only hope. How else shall we heal? How else can all the people of
this land live in peace? Forgiveness is too much to ask of people who have
lost their sons and daughters, their brothers, their future. In God alone
is the hope.

"I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch
for the morning." The morning surely will come. Will the Lord come as
surely? Will God's peace ever reign?

Today, Thursday, the 21st day of Ramadan, the 5th day of Advent: It seems
right to meditate on the Ramadan theme of our dependence on God, and on the
Advent theme of hope. This afternoon, my team-mates and I will again vigil
on our street corner, praying for the peace of the cities.