Come and See!

Mosaic of Peace 2018, Day “0”

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.
To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.
To journey and be transformed is to be a pilgrim.

–Mark Nepo

April 30, Jerusalem—Today we came from many places, from many denominations and vocations, to join in building a Mosaic of Peace. This half-day of gathering was short, much shorter than the time it took took to get here (for me, 28 hours from Louisville KY!). And yet, after breaking bread together and a brief time of worship and introductions, I already feel the beginnings of a time of transformation.

Opening Gathering (Photo by Diane Fitch)

Today’s theme was “Come and See,” but what does it mean to really see the Holy Land? As we talked about our upcoming journey, and about the past experiences and current goals which brought each of us to this trip, a recurring theme was finding stories that can change us. No amount of information, statistics, or facts about Israel-Palestine will be able to capture the experience of being here, meeting people, and learning first-hand. But in this blog, we do hope to share stories capturing moments of transformation. Here’s a short one from this partial “Day Zero” of our Mosaic.

After our evening debriefing, I volunteered to help clean up, and was sent down to the front desk of our hotel with extra materials for the participant arriving tomorrow morning. Leaving the bag with an accommodating staff-person, I mentioned that “her name is on the bag, and she’s with the Mosaic of Peace trip.” Without missing a beat, our gracious host replied: “There is no peace. Not anymore. Is there?” My response: “I agree, and I think that’s why it’s a mosaic of peace. It has to come together from lots of little pieces.”

King David’s Tower (Photo by Diane Fitch)

It wasn’t a satisfying answer. Not for him—though he said he understood the name—and really not for me. Building peace, piece by piece, is not peace. But I do think that the name “Mosaic of Peace” is a helpful reminder, at least to the people with me on this trip, because we are not coming to Israel-Palestine with magic solutions for the conflict that has lasted generations here (or for any such conflict). We are not here on a “mission” to preach, but on a pilgrimage…to be transformed. To learn, piecemeal, about many people, in order to better understand the Holy Land in our time.

I’ll close this first entry with a brief prayer for our trip:

Dear God,

Please help us to be true pilgrims, not just traveling for travel’s sake, nor changing for change’s sake, but journeying with you that we may be transformed by the “mosaic pieces” which are the stories of people in this Holy Land.

Please help us to listen and to learn, to open ourselves to the experiences and perspectives of different people, and to allow ourselves to be changed in the process.



The Mosaic of Peace trip is part of the ministry of the Presbyterian Peace Program. It brings members and partners of the PC(USA) from a variety of backgrounds to Israel-Palestine in order to “experience this remarkable and troubled region, encounter its diverse people, explore its rich history and complex current situation, and engage with those who seek its peace.” 

This blog entry was contributed by Henry Koenig Stone, as part of our effort to bring back and share the stories of Mosaic of Peace 2018.

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