Well I am now back in London, but the most surprising thing on this trip, was the chance encounter and discussion I had with a girl called Carmel, on my return flight from Seattle to London. Carmel, had just finished her studies in Social Work in Seattle, and was off for studies and political action in Israel. Carmel was a curious mix of passionate Jew and social and political activist. Our conversations were a joy, and I really did feel the very presence of God in our discussions. We explored each others belief, and our concern for social action, and a high view of community. We explored some of the awful things Christians had said to her in her youth – things like – You killed Jesus, (which still makes me angry as I reflect on things). We talked about the One God having the attributes of Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer – and how we Christians go further in calling the One God the Holy Trinity. We laughed, we shared passions and dreams of hope for the world, and we shared our concerns for justice, mercy and peace. I was really encouraged to hear how Carmel had a deep faith, with a strong concern for Social Justice. In Israel, she is going to study the Torah and the Jewish faith, as well at times, taking part of political action, joining in with other Jewish groups seeking justice for the Palestinians – literally putting themselves between the Palestinians and the Army. I learnt of the breadth of Judaism, and for the love God and change that she longed for. I appreciate now, just how she saw her faith as being about practising community, inclusion and love. All of which we both agreed on.
She was very brave, seeking to follow God where ever God takes her. In an amusing way, I really do think God was teaching me something, which revisited Chapter One of my book “the becoming of G-d”. That Christians and Jews really do have a deep shared tradition, along with Muslims, but sometimes, in the contemporary world of politics, you would never know it.
Carmel expressed her pleasure in meeting me, of always taking delight in meeting people of faith, to share and envision hope. In our conversations, Carmel and I, we touched a deep shared faith, and one where she showed me respect and hospitality, and I remain deeply touched by our conversations. She hungered for a solution to the Palestine Israel Conflict, she detested Zionism, she longed for a new just President of the United States, and deeper understanding and love between the Abrahamic faiths. Yes, unexpectedly, I was deeply challenged. My prayers go with Carmel, that she continue to bring hope and reconciliation where ever she goes, as God uses her to further the Kingdom in ways, I initially would not have been able to imagine. And so I return to England, and all the pain in the Anglican Church of division, before the Lambeth Conference. Thank you God for people like Carmel! That we can have some hope in our future.