by Marilyn Borst

I was glad when they said unto me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord.” This is how Psalm 122 begins and it is also how my dad greeted us when we stumbled sleepily into the kitchen for breakfast each and every Sunday morning when I was growing up. It echoed through my consciousness this past weekend as I began to see dozens of joy-filled pictures being posted on Facebook, all coming from some of the 150 women (and their pastors) who came together at the newly restored sanctuary in Homs, Syria. Drawing from Presbyterian congregations in Mhardeh, Yazdia, Mashta Hellou and Fairouzeh, as well as Homs, I was especially delighted to see the faces of sisters from Aleppo. All of those who had taken to the unstable roads which lead into Homs came at a risk. [Having just been to Homs, less than two months ago, I can picture the numerous military checkpoints. I was reminded by the distant sounds of artillery in all of the cities I visited how close by the war continues to be, even in now-secured areas.] But I did not fully grasp both the danger to and commitment of the delegation which came from Aleppo to “go into the house of the Lord” until my Outreach Colleague, Rev. Nuhad Tomeh, shared details gleaned from the pastor there, Rev. Ibrahim Nseir: The journey of five hours had to be made with a Syrian army escort, coming and going, and along an alternative route in order to avoid shelling. Shelling. I can only imagine how glad you would have to be to answer such a summons to be present in God’s house. Very glad, I would guess…

Marilyn Borst
Associate Director for Partnership Development