I love you. I always have. I grew up listening to stories about you. I read all about you. How God formed you; how God rescued you; how God loved you; how God was always about redeeming you. You were for me creation, adventure, war and peace, community, love, scandal. That was your story. Kings, queens, sorcerers, dark magic. And as in all good stories love romances and wins and the Prince rides in to save His bride. That was your story. I found myself in your story no matter what chapter my own story was in.
But Israel, I grew up. And long before my story began, you grew up too. You had new stories to tell. Tales of genocide and diaspora, of oppression and the bitterness and need for vindication that grows out of such horrific and defining events. Your story turned into tragedy and before long I was weeping for you, heart broken for you. I longed to come to you. I longed to walk your streets and touch your walls. I wanted to drink all of you in. Your beauty, your holiness. I wanted, Israel, to be part of your story. I almost was...
Israel, I didn't know you had me fooled. Your new story that was taking shape had a twist I wasn't ready for. It was loaded with secrets and lies on every page. Israel, you betrayed me. I was weeping once more not for you, but because of you. My heart was broken once more not for you, but because of you. What happened? Had you been so beaten down and hurt that victim was the only role you knew how to play? Did you not know you, too, were capable of the same injustices committed against you?
Out of my broken heart I ripped my pages from yours, convinced I could never love you again. The pain was so deep. You were God's chosen people, but surely God did not choose this. How could I ever love someone capable of such awful things? You told me you loved me, that you wanted me. You had me convinced you were right and that I needed you. But it was the old story you were selling. The one with the Prince and His bride...
You manipulated me, Israel. You were not beautiful. I had never seen such ugliness. I could hardly bear to look. You were not holy. At best you were human. I could not be invested.
But even our Author recognized these things about us both. And he is always working at redeeming us both. What will he write next?
Come, Israel, take my hand. Let us learn of grace and mercy together. Let us humble ourselves. Let us tear down the wall together. It need not be like this. But I fear you have become a ghost. Too far dead to remember what life was like, walking steadily away from heaven. So I must go, for I have another letter to write...
I love you too.