A close relative pointed his finger towards me the other day and said: “Are you –referring to the Palestinian Bible Society - the ones distributing these Bible packages in Jerusalem?” I said: “No”. Again pointing his finger: “No, I am sure it is you…” and with grief and disgust in his eyes he said: “Shame on you! Go and see how people are throwing them out in the streets”.
I decided to go and see for myself. Walking down near the garden tomb, I could see white paper with small dark Arabic writing covering the street, going closer towards Damascus gate, I could actually see footstep marks on clean fresh paper. Up in an alley on the way to new gate, I could see a number of Bibles piled up in a corner. Then I walk through new gate, I cannot help but pick up a brand new Bible torn in half, and while doing so, an old Christian man, whom has been committed to the Greek Orthodox Church in the old city, says: “It is the crazy Motajadideen” (“Born Again” in Arabic). “They have no respect to the Bible; they think they can give a Bible to any passerby”.
While tears almost ran this old man’s face, I could see little boys tearing up another Bible page by page and making sudden loud one worded jokes about the “Book of the Infidels”!
A Christian Evangelical Ministry was proud that they distributed more than 5,000 Bibles in one day in the wonderful bright streets of East Jerusalem. They were excited to share:”… some 50,000 Arab Muslims and nominal Christians … have been reached with the Gospel”
Unfortunately, like many other Evangelical Christian Churches and Ministries in the Holy Land, the numbers are exaggerated, the facts are not precise, and there is a “fake joy” component to every event that takes place. And I observe how some of these churches have become project based Churches and Ministries, where you carefully walk through the project cycle process, and make sure to match your results with your goals in order to get better funding for your next event.
Today as I walk in between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Church, I cannot but have these feelings. The first Church has so well preserved the word of God, that itself has become so protective, leaving the youth hungry and ignorant towards their own Bible. From the other hand, some Evangelical Churches that have hardly any respect for the Bible, even though The Word of God is not in the paper and ink but in the meaning, nevertheless it is important not to waste time and effort and not to give a bad example to people that put their faith in paper and ink.
When I walk and find scribbles over verses, and green blue yellow marker remains over chapters, and I look down at the torn pages of Bible covering the streets of Jerusalem, and then I realize… this is the body of Christ, torn in Jerusalem as a result of our differences, our own agendas, and our pride.
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