Unification News for August 2004

Letter to Ambassadors for Peace

Interreligious & International Peace Council World Peace Pilgrimage
Rev. Michael Jenkins

Dear Ambassadors for Peace,

The World Peace Pilgrimage is unlike any other trip to the Holy Land. While it gives the Ambassador for Peace genuine and uplifting experiences at the holy sites that are sacred to the three Abrahamic faiths, it also allows you to engage in profound relations with the people of Israel and Palestine.Muslim clerics will welcome you, and you will be surprised at the openness they share toward people of the Book – Christians and Jews. We also engage in dialogue and relations with Jewish rabbis, who themselves have become Ambassadors for Peace, thus transcending many of the traditional barriers that block us from good relations beyond our denominations or religions. You will visit and experience a deep spirituality at one of the three most holy sites of Islam – Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. You will be given a special presentation by one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis on the depth and spirituality of the great faith of Judaism. This experience does not take place in a hotel but right inside one of Israel’s prominent synagogues.

You will have an interchange with dedicated Catholic priests who have kept the spirit of Nazareth as the city where Jesus once lived. You will march in Nazareth with the Nazarenes. You will see with your own eyes the Golan Heights, and you will set foot in one of the most famous rivers of the world, the River Jordan.

You will journey into the world-renowned West Bank, not as a tourist but as an Ambassador for Peace. You will journey into areas where no tourist has ever gone. You will be safe and you will be inspired because as an Ambassador for Peace you are welcomed wherever you go. On the journey in the West Bank, you will visit the homes of other Ambassadors for Peace as well as friends of the Peace UN. You will have lunch with three or four other colleagues as the special guests of Muslims from the West Bank and Jews from Jerusalem.

You will journey to Haifa, where you will be welcomed by the city fathers and some of the nation’s most prominent leaders in a World Peace Symposium, in which many of our Ambassadors for Peace will also share their insights. You will bring gifts and symbols of your nation and culture as you visit the hospitals of Jerusalem and Ramallah, with particular focus on the children. It is almost certain that you will change some Jewish or Muslim young person’s life as they experience love from your nation and culture, which they never believed they would ever see or experience.

You will experience the high desert climate and the cool evenings that come with such terrain. You will feel the healthful atmosphere that is created by the hot desert sun as you go to the world-famous Dead Sea. You will have the opportunity to bathe in the mud that is found there. It is world-renowned for its healing and medicinal powers promoting the rejuvenation of your body and spirit. You will see the Sea of Galilee and you will touch its sparkling clear waters, realizing that this was the place where Jesus created a teaching and a tradition that changed the world. You will sit on the gentle slopes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.

You will serve the nation as an Ambassador for Peace not only in word but also in deed. With love you will plant a tree representing your family, your lineage, and your nation. Joining with other Ambassadors for Peace, you will leave behind a peace forest that will one day bear fruit that will teach future generations about your sacrifice to heal this historic land.

People to people, heart to heart, you will have the opportunity to visit people one-on-one who are indigenous to the area, and you will make a bond with your brothers and sisters in the Holy Land that will last forever. You will carry your wisdom and your understanding that you gained from your great nation and culture to the Knesset and the lawmakers of Israel. On our past journey with the group from Latin America, the former prime minister of Barbados gave hope to the whole parliament as he received a standing ovation, to the surprise of the various factions and parties of the Knesset. He said, "I came from my country to help you in the pursuit of peace. I am an Ambassador for Peace."

Never before have emissaries come from all over the world with a message of love and support that was principled, not partisan. This is the message that there is one God of all the Abrahamic peoples and faiths and we are His ambassadors from every faith and religion.

You will experience the power of your prestige and responsibility as you see borders open that do not open regularly to visitors. With the status of the Interreligious and International Peace Council (IIPC) and its Ambassadors for Peace having been enhanced by many journeys from representatives of the world’s nations, we have now been accepted at every border and checkpoint. From the Palestinian people to the Israeli people, IIPC is accepted andknown as a friend to all.

The people of this land descended from two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac. Your mission will be to give these brothers hope that the divisions of the family will be healed through our cooperative efforts. You will experience an academic seminar of the highest quality with experts on the political situation and the current state of affairs. With this knowledge and understanding, you will gain special qualities to come back to your nation to be a source of conflict resolution between the "brothers" of your own culture.

All in all, you will have an experience of joy as you will find that the Holy Land is your second home. Somehow, we instinctively feel that the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East is connected to the resolution of the world conflicts that now have so many on edge. Your work and pilgrimage will reduce tensions among Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and with each step you will bring understanding and insight into the value of the various faiths of humanity.

Heart to heart, you will find your "brother" or "sister" as you cross the Bridge of Peace with your counterpart from Palestine and Israel. Crossing with someone of a similar profession or interest, you will contribute to the resolution of tribal divisions that have existed for thousands of years. We have seen tears flow like a river as each one crossing the Bridge of Peace realizes that their steps and embrace across the lines of division in the Holy Land have a real power to dissolve those barriers and tensions.

At the conclusion, many will weep as they have to return to their homes. But our tears will be pure and beautiful, because they will be tears of hope – hope based on the real accomplishment of advancing peace in the City of Peace. History and all of humanity, as well as the Scriptures, predicted that one day believers from all over the world would take this journey. Now you are no longer just studying history. You are making history as you work to fulfill the prophecies that were given thousands of years ago.

The Ambassadors for Peace are bringing the day of hope.

God bless you.

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