The Words of the Pople Family

Brief Reflection on 5th Peace Pilgrimage, April 2004

Joy Pople
April 9, 2004

The holy places are not just for one people or one religion, but for all people. Originally, the Temple was to be a house of prayer for all people (Isa. 56:7). When people build walls to lock out those of another faith, they block the spirit of God.

I saw Jews cry because Muslims built a mosque on their Temple foundation. I saw Muslims cry because Christians closed their mosque or tore down their mosque to build a church in its place. But Jews, Christians and Muslims cried together when our imams returned safely after the attack on Al-Aqsa during Friday prayers on April 2. Like Jacob experienced with Esau, I saw the face of God in them. This is a living example of God wiping away tears and making all things new (Rev. 21:4-5).

Furthermore, through the grace of True Parents, we can make any place holy. At the checkpoint. Upon arriving at the checkpoint in Gaza en route to Jerusalem, we learned that Israel had closed her borders. We called down the spirit of God through music. After several songs, we began singing:

Sweet Holy Spirit, sweet spirit of love,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings, we lift our hearts in praise.
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.

We didn't know when and how we would leave. But with the chorus of this song, I lowered my hands to the floor, gathering up the sin and death of this world to raise up to heaven, and then gathered the glory of heaven to bring down to earth. Each circuit of my arms dissipated the sphere of death and expanded the realm of grace. Joining our raised hands, I twirled around with a sister in front of me. Levy Daugherty kept singing more verses. I looked toward the back of the bus to bring more people into the flow, and I saw Andrew Wilson's eyes shining brightly. I stretched out my hand to him, and he took it and stood up. Joining our raised hands we twirled each other until his whole body glowed with light.

I was so enchanted I couldn't help laughing. Andrew Wilson laughed too. He laughed so much he collapsed on the bus seat. Other people had transformative prayer experiences in logical places such as the Upper Room. The Holy Spirit came down in a bus parked by the Gaza checkpoint where so many people have died of terrorist attacks. A Jew and a Christian became caught up in the spirit and changed the tears of heaven and earth into overwhelming laughter.

As we sang more songs, the Palestinian guards came closer to the bus to listen. Eventually, we were able to leave the bus, be processed through the Palestinian checkpoint, and proceed towards the Israeli checkpoint. In the eaves of the corridor little birds twittered and fluttered, singing their own odes to the creator. No checkpoints detained them.

While waiting between metal rails in the Israeli holding pens, under the eyes of a guard in a watchtower above us, index finger on the trigger of the Uzi pointed toward us, we kept singing. One young guard kept coming over with requests for his favorite pieces. Blacks and whites, Pentecostals and Unificationists, sopranos and tenors, we joined our voices in light, uplifting songs. With Uzis aimed at our feet and knees, we set the rhythm: "truth is marching, truth is marching, truth is marching." Then we took up the prophetic words: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" and lifted the hallelujahs up through the barbed wires unto the spangled heavens.

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