The picture above is from a wedding I attended in Israel. I’m thinking about this experience in particular because today I had a Zoom reunion with the participants with whom I travelled on that trip. This Philos Project trip was specifically devoted to exploring and encountering Christian minorities (plural) within Israel. I gained a much more nuanced understanding of the various situations facing Filipino migrant workers, Muslim converts to Christianity, Aramean citizens of Israel, West Bank Palestinian Christians, Gazan Christians as well as clergy from around the world studying and serving in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Of course, many of these Christians in the Holy Land face a lot of challenges. Yet, Philos Project founder Robert Nicholson knew an Aramean Christian who was getting married during our trip and so, he explained, “We’re taking the trip participants to a wedding to show them that not all of the Christians in the Holy Land are sad and mourning.”
Today this line comes back to me. Yes, there is a lot of sadness and mourning around us and among us. But not everyone is sad and mourning. There are always some who are, at any given moment, rejoicing and happy, celebrating and consoled. Is this any comfort to us? I think it could be. But it demands of us a strength of soul to rejoice in the good of others, even in moments when we do not seem to share it; it requires courage to be happy whenever we find sparks of light dispelling some of the world’s darkness.