In December 2009, Palestinian Christian leaders launched the Kairos Palestine Document, a statement that shares their daily realities of life under occupation and calls on Christian sisters and brothers and churches worldwide to be witnesses to these realities, to be in solidarity, and to take action. One way to do this is to “come and see”:
In order to understand our reality, we say to the Churches: Come and see. We will fulfill our role to make known to you the truth of our reality, receiving you as pilgrims coming to us to pray, carrying a message of peace, love and reconciliation. You will know the facts and the people of this land, Palestinians and Israelis alike. At the same time we call on you to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
Pilgrimage has brought many people over the years to the “Holy Land”. And although pilgrimage can make us feel closer to our faith story, to truly find an opportunity for engagement and transformation, to truly encounter God today in the suffering of this land, one must see the “living stones.” One must see the living Palestinian Christian communities who hope for a peace born of justice and who seek to tell their stories, to be heard, and to have their stories told to the rest of the world.
As a follow up to the Kairos Palestine Document, a Come and See booklet was drafted by Palestinian Christians to provide suggestions for Christians contemplating pilgrimage to the “Holy Land”. It includes many resources for travelers such as a code of conduct for tourism that aims to promote just and responsible tourism and help visitors take a justice approach that affirms the love of God for all, provides biblical insights for a pilgrimage of transformation and suggestions for meaningful face-to-face encounters with “the living stones.”
For more on how you can see the situation for yourself, learn about opportunities to visit Palestine-Israel through Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams, or Mennonite Church USA.