I had lunch today with a colleague.
He is Jewish and a Rabbi.
I am Christian and a Pastor.
For many years our congregations have worked side by side to feed those who were hungry, to welcome the immigrant and stranger and to provide shelter for those in need. We have learned with and from each other. We have supported one another in our efforts to hold onto and to work towards the best values and bravest hopes embedded in both our traditions.
Today, over lunch, we talked about the recent decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest in several companies whose products are believed to negatively impact the lives and livelihoods of Palestinians. A decision that has deeply troubled many in the Jewish community. And, we talked about escalating conflict in Gaza.
And, the security concerns of Israel.
And, the plight of the Palestinians.
And, the attachment he and many Jews feel to Israel.
And, the challenge for many who are not Jewish to understand that connection.
We spoke as colleagues who have long known and trusted each other.
We listened to one another as friends who sought to better understand each other.
But, it was not an easy conversation.
Not because we were angry at each other or were threatened by the other.
It was not an easy conversation because so much was at stake.
Could the two of us, over lunch, talk and share and listen and learn and agree and disagree all the while holding onto what was most important to both of us.
Because if we could not do it…
If we cannot continue to do it…
How do we ever hope that it might one day happen where there is more distrust than trust; more hatred than friendship?
And, we cannot give up on that hope.
I had lunch today with a friend and we talked…