If You’re Looking for Jesus

Luke 24:36-49

A Sermon Preached April 22, 2012 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Marietta, OH by Kelly Latimore of the Common Friars .

Before I came to Ohio in 2009, in the summer of 2008 I was preparing to leave on a delegation, with several others, to Israel/Palestine. It was my junior Year of college and I had been taking an Arabic course and reading about the conflict that has been going on in that region for thousands of years. The conflict was simply an issue for me, just as poverty, cancer, people with disabilities can all become issues. They are issues until we learn a man’s name on a street corner in St. Louis ,or my aunt who has had bouts of cancer her whole life, or my good friend near our farm who is a fifty year old ten year old who is the happiest man I have ever met. Poverty, Cancer and the developmentally disabled are not issues for me anymore, they are names and faces, and stories. I wanted to meet Palestinians and Israeli’s, Jews and Muslims; I wanted to meet Shepherds and Soldiers, Farmers, and shop owners and hear their stories. It would be the first and only time I have left the country. I was concerned about the history of the place and its people, of knowing enough Arabic and Hebrew to get by. My Mother was more concerned that I was a) not going to get hurt and b) not going to run out of sunscreen. This is what mothers do.

The week before I was to leave a woman in our Church approached me and asked if I would bring a rock back from the “Holy Land” for her. I said I would be happy to.

I Left, and after 2 weeks of eating with people, having conversations always over three or four rounds of coffee and tea, seeing the grand stones on the Jerusalem wall, after seeing a man choke another man before my eyes all over crossing a gravel road, rocks being picked up and thrown, Israeli’s standing in front of Palestinians to protect them and Palestinians doing the same, after seeing Jews and Christians and Muslims praying together, after all that stone throwing and walking on them, mountains made up of them I couldn’t take a rock, even a pebble from that place.