Posts in Lebanon 2016
Let the Children Come

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." – Matthew 19:14 The war in Syria, like wars in many places, has not been discriminating in its victims. Old, young, men, women, Evangelical, Orthodox, Catholic, Sunni, Shia, all have suffered. But we, like many across the world, have had a special focus on the children for we know that Jesus, the one we call Lord and Savior, had a special focus for the children. And because he does, so does the church.

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Encountering the Other

Our last full day at the consultation of global partners was a full day that once again began with worship and reflection. Elias Jabbour of Aleppo led us through the music of a Taize service and voices were raised in English, Latin and Arabic. Najla Kassab, who not only runs this conference center but is also in charge of Christian education in NESSL, offered a meditation on 2 Cor. 5:16-21. This portion of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth is about reconciliation and offers that since we now know Jesus, it is through those lenses that we should look as we seek to reconcile one to the other. We need to look “beyond the flesh” and get beyond those prejudices and hatreds that hinder reconciliation. It is not a process that takes three days or months.

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Jars of Clay

“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” 2 Cor. 4:7-10

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In the Boat with Jesus

First of all, it is such a humbling privilege to be here with the church of Syria and Lebanon, learning from them about being the church in the midst of a crisis. Every moment we spend with these faithful brothers and sisters is a gift. There was a cost to come and spend these rich moments with them, but the cost they bear to travel difficult roads and cross formerly open borders is greater. So it is our joy to sit and listen to their stories of faith, even on a day that begins in the sunny morning and ends when that same sun has set for the evening. This will be long this evening, but stay with it until the end.

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New Clothes

Our whole team is finally together here in Lebanon, and this evening we have made it to the Dhour Choueir Conference Center in the mountains above Beirut. We are preparing for a light dinner before the consultation with NESSL and its global partners begins tomorrow. Because some of us are still jet-lagged (including the author!), this will be a short post. But because we are in a land of deep faith with our brothers and sisters in Christ, a short post will offer the depth of what we have come to be a part of and the love of Jesus which is palpable, always reaching out to touch.

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April Consultation on Syria in Lebanon

Associate Director Marilyn Borst has arrived in Beirut and is leading a team from The Outreach Foundation. They will be joining other partners of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, who are coming together at the Synod’s conference center in the mountains north of Beirut for a Consultation on Syria. Presbyterian pastors from Syria will be sharing about their context of ministry after five years of war as together, those assembled will be praying and worshiping and exploring ways in which they can be “mutually encouraged by one another’s faith.” 

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