• Columbia Heights Parish
Columbia Heights Parish

Columbia Heights Parish

Address

Columbia Heights Educational Campus
3101 16th St NW

Service Times

10:00am & 11:30am

Kids' City  offered only at 10am service.

 

 

Pastor

Aaron Graham

Contact


Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: (202) 558-9745
  • Email: 
  • Mailing Address: 1616 7th St, NW, Washington DC, 20001 

 

Blog

Why I Go To Israel-Palestine

Posted by Jordan Wilson on

Why I Go To Israel-Palestine

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

I recently heard a commentary on this verse – likely from Stott, Nouwen, Wright, or maybe a wise friend – that spoke of how those who are peacemakers bear the marks of God. Just like a child resembles his or her parents because of physical appearance - hair color, build, smile – or character traits – how they hit a baseball, the way they act when nervous, their phrasing and pronunciation – we bear the marks of our father when we engage in peacemaking, because peacemaking is the work of our God. My dad was a tennis player, my dad was a Tottenham fan, my dad was loud in social situations, so it’s no one wonder that I became all these things (amongst other traits that I’d rather not possess!)

It’s also important to note where Jesus spoke these words. The picture above faces south, from a hillside on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. It would have been somewhere around here where Jesus delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7. Not only is this one of the lowest physical points on earth (follow the Galilee into the Jordan River, then into the Dead Sea and that’s THE lowest point), it’s also a place that has always known conflict. Sitting at the crossroads of continents and empires, the Holy Land of Israel-Palestine has been a region marked by war since time began.

Even now this place is surrounded by conflict. Drive 30 miles south and, after crossing an intimidating 26ft high concrete wall, you’ll reach the Palestinian West Bank: a land under military occupation since 1967 where Israelis and Palestinians continue to fight over who owns the soil. To the east, just over those hills, is the Syrian border marking entry to a country where, in the last 5 years, 400,000 people have been killed and approximately 11 million have been displaced by a brutal dictator crushing his civilians in a civil war, by a militant Islamic movement trying to establish a medieval caliphate, and by Russian bombardment of both. And then twenty miles to the north is the border with Lebanon where, for the past thirty years, Israel has fought with Hezbollah over territory, security and pride, but now the grave concern regards what influence the more than one million Syrian refugees currently residing there will have on an already delicate political situation. Civil War in Lebanon would be horrific and unsurprising to many.

And still this is the place where Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers”, where our Lord and Savior told us that if we work to bring peace, restoration, and wholeness to our communities, we will bear the marks of our all-powerful Creator Father. 

I love this place and what it teaches me about my faith and it’s very real rootedness in history, and about how fickle my conflicts are compared to the battles that have been fought within ear-shot of this tranquil sea. But more so I love the people who live there, the church that lives there, because of what they teach me about loving my enemies, about justice, security, freedom and dignity, about what it truly means to follow Christ’s call to be a peacemaker. These are lessons I will always need, because like other fallen people I will always be prone to hurt myself and others, but they are lessons I will always strive for in longer to be more and more like my true heavenly father.

The District Church is participating in an 8-day trip to Israel/Palestine in February 2017. This is being organized by Telos, an educational non-profit who specialize in Holy Land pilgrimages that also immerse leaders in an exploration of Biblical peacemaking. To learn more about this opportunity we are having informational standing meetings: in Columbia Heights after second service on October 23rd, at East Side after service on October 30th. If you're interested, SIGN UP Here

 

Tags: middle east, peace, reconciliation, israel/palestine