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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Hamza's hands

To hold his hand is to touch the flesh of Christ

A slender little boy, Hamza Nabtite, blocked my way as I climbed the hill in Aida refugee camp on the north edge of Bethlehem. Aida is one of several such camps for displaced Palestinians (see page 51).

Hamza smiled feebly and bit his lower lip as I approached. In his glazed eyes I read confusion, uncertainty. There was no sparkle, none of that playful anticipation that so wondrously shines in the eyes of little ones bursting with life. I saw only a wariness beyond his years.

Still, when I offered my hand he took it, and we walked together, his hand molding itself naturally into mine as if it belonged there, as if it had found a home. For the next 15 minutes Hamza didn't pull away even once. He simply held my hand and walked quietly at my side as he showed me a neighbor's shelled apartment.


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