Two days ago we arrived in the city of Jeruslaem. We prayed together -- using prayers from the three Abrahamic faiths -- Jewish, Muslim and Christian. We then proceeded to visit the holy sites -- Al Aqsa mosque on the temple mount, the wailing wall -- and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As we went together to each site, we not only honored each unique religious tradition, but most of us expressed that the religious diversity invited each of us deeper into our particularity of our respective faiths.
Interspersed with all this, we spent time with some extraordinary bridge builders. We heard from an Muslim woman and Jewish man, each of whom had immediate family members murdered by someone of the other faith tradition, but are part of a network of families across the country who witness to reconciliation, in spite of their grief. We met with Arab leader in Bethlehem, who has formed the Holy Land Trust, a group of Jews, Christians and Muslims who are committed to bringing non violent solutions to the bitter divide between Israel and the West Bank. We met with two key political leaders -- a Jew and a Christian Arab who are working behind the scenes to reduce tension and build peaceful solutions to seemingly insolvable problems. And last night the Imam, rabbi and I were part of a volunteer ambulance corps graduation service, in which the volunteers represent equal numbers of Jews, Christians and Muslims -- and whose healing witness extends beyond the accident victims they treat, but is as image of cooperation I that many people in this country simply cannot believe.
These groups operate against great odds. But their courage and creativity are remarkable examples of efforts for peace. They have provided an enormous dose of inspiration, and are extraordinary agents of hope.