Peregrini gathered around the table for a meal. Community is so important to us and nothing brings us together like good food. We never lack for good hearted conversation with lots of stories around the table.
But, on this night, as the question was offered, a pained silence covered our souls like heavy black clouds preparing to unleash a nasty storm. "Where is God in the Middle East?" The war in Iraq, the war in Lebanon, Iran gathering nuclear strength, the entire region is in violent turmoil. Peace is no where on the horizon. Where is God in all this mess?
Gil C. had spent a college year at Jerusalem University and has a sense of the issues surrounding the conflict. Surani had just returned from Sri Lanka, though she said it was nothing like what she sees in the Middle East, it was still frightening. Most of all sitting around the table have friends who have been or are in Iraq right now. War and conflict are fresh on our minds. Where is God in the Middle East?
The question is impossibly hard. The situation in the Middle East may be as complex as any global entanglement has ever been. Religious strife, histories of violence, economies at risk, lives endangered, survival is perilous at best; there seems to be no solutions, the possibility for peace is not imaginable. Where is God in the Middle East?
For the evening, our hearts broke with compassion for those caught in the middle of massive destruction and lives ruined. The innocent are no more. Death tolls confound us and threaten to make us numb. Maybe that's where God is - keeping us from being numb so that we continue to struggle on behalf of those who apparently are just "collateral damage" in a wave of endless despair?
All the Peregrini travelers could offer was prayer.