In case you are new to the Gospel, a couple of things:
- Welcome! Jesus loves you.
- Muslims aren’t huge fans of the Jews.
To the latter, I don’t mean as in not carrying a foam finger reading, “There’s only one Savior for me.” It’s more like, “I have hated your guts for 6,000 years. Ishmael is the man and you suck, YHWH dude.”
That is whenever it’s not convenient for a Muslim to become a tour guide for the site of one of Jesus’ most famed miracles. In that case, “Mohammad will show me the money. Praise be to Allah.”
Thanks to the Washington Post, we read about a man who has a truckload of bravery – meet Father Masoud Abu Hatoum.
Yeah, an Arab Christian. You would the circus came to town and he was the elephant jumping through a hoop of fire, but alas, he’s just a man who loves Jesus and business savvy.
In lieu of this economy and what it has done for Holy Land travel, Hatoum has decided to work on some grassroots marketing and keep the young ones from leaving their huts for uptown Nazareth.
After all, that’s where the real sanctimonious action is, right?
Father Masoud Abu Hatoum, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his enthusiasm, has come up with a few ideas, like re-enacting the New Testament story of Jesus transforming the water for guests at a wedding in the Galilee hamlet of Cana, now this northern Israeli town of Kufr Kana.
What makes Father Bulldozer even more amazing is that the town of Kurf Kana post Arab-Israeli war of 1948 is now populated with 16,000 Muslims and only 4,000 Christians. Yet, there he is – a few credits short of an MBA and it seems, a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
On a recent Sunday, the Roman Catholic service at the stone-and-marble Cana Wedding Church only drew about 20 worshippers, most of them middle-aged. Another couple of dozen turned out at the smoky, dim and ornate Greek Orthodox church nearby in the old village center, where volunteers built a display for stone jars the church says held the water Jesus turned into wine.
That day attracted 40 people. Last summer, he only had 10. Business is booming for this guy. Moreover, this isn’t the only PR stunt up his mocked Nehru sleeves. Check out what he did on Christmas:
For Christmas, Abu Hatoum erected a scaffolding strung with blinking lights around 90 feet (27 eters) high over his church and he billed it the tallest Christmas tree in the Holy Land.
“I would have made it higher,” he said laughing, “but I would have needed a license for that.”
The gimmick was enough to attract an Israeli television crew, and a spot for the priest on local radio, pleasing parishioners who said nobody had expressed interest in their church before.
Will his chicanery be enough to show out the resurrected Christ and show up traffic and people to this dwindling town?
We shall see, but I’ll bet you one thing – as long as he can stand in front of his former cronies singing the praises of Jesus, I would say someone will cross that (bottom) line.
Peace be upon you, Padre.