The Precipitation is a Place of Rejection
The mount of Precipitation (Precipice) in Nazareth’s southern end today is one of my favorite spots. It is a place where people come to pray, contemplate and meditate away from the buzz of the town of Nazareth as well as look over the vast scene, especially to the south and sideways.
However, it is the place where the people of my home town Nazareth took Jesus 2000 years ago in order to throw Him from its cliff. According to tradition Jesus not only “walked right through the crowd and went on his way” (as the Bible states), but even jumped from the cliff and landed safely in the Jezreel valley below. Recently a folk feast of the precipice mountain is celebrated during lent. Either way- the Precipitation is a place of rejection.
The angry people of Nazareth could not accept that in His speech in the synagogue, Jesus noted two gentiles from the Old Testament as heroes of faith. They could not accept that His grace is available to every nation. Therefore, Precipitation is also a place of exclusivity.
Isn’t the heart of the human race a Mount of precipitation of its own?
Today I am not just a citizen of Nazareth but the Lord has placed me in a distinct position and location: I belong to a tiny minority in Israel. I am an Arab, a Palestinian, a Christian, an Evangelical, and a citizen of Israel. These sub-identities have the potential to contradict one another.
I was raised as a son of the first Arab Palestinian Christian journalist in Israel who worked in an Israeli Hebrew newspaper. My dad was a Greek Melkite Catholic and my mom a Greek Orthodox. In different times of my life I attended Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and Jewish schools and Universities with Arab Muslim and Christian, British, and Jewish children. Later I worked and served among Arabs, Jews and internationals.
Through the years I have mastered the skill of navigation between my sub-identities in interacting with these different people and in forming views on numerous loaded issues.
God tells us that we are all His handiwork (Eph. 2: 10) and he has made us kings and priests (Rev. 1: 6). Belonging to God is our ultimate trump card. It is the identity that absorbs all other sub-identities. Our identity in God should surely rule over our other identities but not to rule them out.
Nazareth’s location geographically in the middle of the narrow strip of Israel provides a prime location for viewing the surroundings. Standing on the top of the Precipice Mountain top one can see Mt. Carmel in the west, the Gilboa Mountains in the east-south, the Jezreel Valley beneath the mountain to the south, Megiddo (Armageddon site…) to the south-west, Mt. Tabor (transfiguration) to the south east too, the Jordan Valley to the east, the town of Nazareth to the north and other Biblical sites.
Metaphorically I aim to stand on the Precipice today and humbly try from my position to reverse the spirit of rejection by a spirit of grace and inclusiveness by aiming to look at the world and tackling different issues. May God help me with that. I pray that my stand on a cliff of the Precipice is not a stand on an ivory tower but a position ingrained in the daily life of the people in each of my sub identities but certainly under the lordship of Christ.