Sunday, January 22, 2006

John Lynes

HEBRON POEM: Shabbat patrol
by John Lynes

The young have no time for miracles.
You must forgive an old man. Today I pray for a miracle.
Miracles? Why not?
Apartheid ended without bloodshed;
the Berlin Wall fell;
Leningrad became St Petersburg;
the IRA gave up their arms.

A Jewish child, I hid my eyes
from the pictured corpses of Belsen and Buchenwald.
There but for the grace of God --
Resurrection was not a word I knew.
How could I believe I would live to see
children and grandchildren of the Holocaust
crossing the fields of the Promised Land
to synagogue on Shabbat?
Could there be a more heavenly vision?
But surely not for this world?

Yet two by two, there they walk as I write,
not to any old shul:
to synagogue on the very spot where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Leah, Rebecca and Sarah, lie buried.

"Shabbat shalom," I greet the worshippers.
Some have learned to recognise my red hat
the mark of a Christian Peacemaker in Hebron,
and they spit at me
and they curse me as a Nazi. And it hurts.

It hurts.

You must forgive an old man --old enough to recall real Nazis.
Today I pray for a miracle.
I long to be part of that miracle, whatever the cost.
Will you pray with me?

"Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth,
lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust,
lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe."
Shalom - Salaam - Peace.

the poem was posted 21 Jan 2006 at


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