Around this time last year, I was asked to address a congregation at a synagogue in Jerusalem. The Bible reading that Shabbat was the stories of the spies who were sent out to spy out the land of Canaan, but came back with tall tales and exaggerated stories. Sound familiar?
I suggested that rather than coming as 'spies' (meraglim), Israel should be visited in the spirit of pilgrimage (olei-regel). There is thus a pun in Hebrew on the words 'spies' and 'pilgrims', implying that through a change of heart enemies can become friends.
Here is the English translation of that synagogue address:
So it is very gratifying indeed to read about the tremendously successful GAFCON conference which has just taken place in Jerusalem. Some of the world's leading members of the Church of England have attended and many regard this as one of the most significant events in the history of the Anglican Church.
And it is also very good for Jewish-Christian relations.
Here is George Conger's take on the whole thing:
And here is Ruth Gledhill in today's Times
As someone at the conference said: Jews and Christians should and can work together towards a better world and a greater understanding of both God and the Bible and this conference has surely contributed towards this goal.