In the spring of 2010 my husband and I took a trip to occupied Palestine. On a Sunday morning we worshipped at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. Also visiting there was a group from Germany who sang “Dona Nobis Pacem” as a gift to those attending.
That afternoon the choir went their way and we went ours, spending time in Ramallah with the Ramallah Friends Meeting and Quakers from many places in the world as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Friends Meeting House.
From there we traveled to Jenin to the home of Canaan Fair Trade. Upon our return to Ramallah some good friends said, “You must visit Neve Shalom, Wahat Assalem. It’s an intentional community where Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews have chosen to live together in peace. It is only about 30 minutes to Ben Gurion Airport, where you can get your 4:00 AM flight with no problem. We will take you there.”
We enjoyed Neve Shalom, Wahat Assalom, sipping tea and meeting folks from the community. We were delighted to find that there was a building just for meditation and schools that were bilingual. As evening approached we strolled out to look over the valley as lights began to twinkle on toward the airport.
A woman approached and, as strangers often do, we asked, “Where are you from?” “We are Lutherans from Germany. We are on our way home,” she replied. “Oh, we met a group from Germany at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. They sang “Dona Nobis Pacem.” It was beautiful,” we said. “That was us!” she exclaimed as others from the group walked over to join us.
There in the lovely quiet and fading evening light together we raised our voices in “Dona Nobis Pacem, smiling and weeping at the same time. Our song of peace and for peace floated out into the silence as we parted ways from Neva Shalom, Wahat Assalom.
A version of Dona Nobis Pacem with one woman singing 3 parts can be found at this link.
Lorie at the Rainbow Gate: