Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finished Blood Brothers

I have finished Blood Brothers. After Chacour was ordained, he became a priest in a village. He found there was much discord among Christians there. After months of building up relationships with individuals, he told them in church one day, when they all showed up for Palm Sunday, "Sitting in this building does not make you a Christian" (p. 170). On that day, and over time, he gradually brought about reconciliation within the Christian community. And he did not limit himself to Christians. He told the nuns who worked with him, "If Jesus Christ Himself was somewhere out in the streets of Ibillin needing our help, what would you do?...Whatever we do to the least of men, we do for Him. And the person He sends may not be Christian, but Moslem. Jesus does not ask us just to preach to Moslems, but first to show his love....Isn't it more important to demonstrate the spirit of the gospel, rather than battering people with the words?" (p. 174)

He went on to study alongside Jewish scholars at Hebrew University, to organize a peace march in which Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Druze people marched together through Jerusalem, and to build schools, libraries, and community centers in Palestinian villages. The reason for building the schools, libraries, and community centers was expressed by his bishop, Bishop Raya, when he said, "When you build dignity, you begin to destroy prejudice" (p. 196).

Chacour found that there were both Palestinian and Israeli people who shared his desire for reconciliation, as well as both Palestinian and Israeli people who opposed his efforts. He was spied on, harassed, and kidnaped. The schools, libraries, and community centers he tried to build were vandalized. He knew what it was like to feel hate and anger. He was tired, working for decades, and not knowing if his efforts made a difference. Yet despite all these, he continued working for peace. Whenever a new community center opened up, the first thing he would present was a showing of The Diary of Anne Frank, so that the Palestinian people could better understand the Israelis, and so they could see the dangers of violence.

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