Who is My Favorite Enemy?
I went to a Shabbat service at a synagogue last Friday and heard a Palestinian Muslim sing with an American Jew.
I then heard the son of a Norwegian Prime Minister talk about conflict resolution.
I was deeply moved.
The people at Congregation Micah were very friendly and their Rabbi, Philip “Flip” Rice, made me feel very much at home. While my seminary Hebrew is pretty rusty, I was able to follow along just well enough to worship, this midwestern Christian among a congregation of Nashville Jews.
I was there to learn more about a very special project promoting peace in the MidEast. I was surprised by how much my heart was moved by the songs, prayers, and conversation.
My Favorite Enemy is a project involving top selling Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, American, and Norwegian songwriters and recording artists. With music in Hebrew, Arabic, and English they build bridges across the divides of conflict.
These individuals have decided to learn from each other and explore the varied ways they can help bring peace to their communities. Their musical giftedness moves the conversation away from the tried and true arguments and creates opportunities for them to discover each other as people.
Everything they do carries a lot at risk because they are making friends of enemies.
I was deeply moved standing among the worshippers of Congregation Micah because I realized how much I am a part of humanity. Who I believe God to be means God very much loves all people on this rocky planet upon which we live.
One the songs they sang that evening, “Stones”, speaks of the various stones in our lives. The lyrics speak of the way some stones are used to build walls and others bridges. In the hearing of it, we need to ask which kind of stone we want to be.
I am a Christian so it could be easy to say the conflict between Jews and Palestinians does not concern me.
Some Christians show concern for the conflict because they see the resolution of the conflict in the MidEast as a precursor to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I suggest we should be concerned because it involves men and women, boys and girls.
It involves people. In a very real way, it involves all of us.
All of us live our lives in little conflict skirmishes. Most of our conflicts do not play out on the world stage and do not involve death and political brinkmanship. Yet, we are often challenged by living in the same space as the many neighbors in our lives.
Each of us will need to find our own place in the larger conflict among Jews and Palestinians, but the more critical challenge may just be how we relate to other people in the immediate circles of our lives.
Who is your favorite enemy? With whom do you need to be building bridges? With whom have you shared too much wall building?
I want to finish by encouraging you to watch this six minute video about the work of My Favorite Enemy. At the end, among all the joy and celebration, imagine yourself there with your favorite enemy.
How would your world be a bigger and better place if you could find yourself together in joyful celebration with your favorite enemy?