It is in times and tragedies like those that happened in Boston that our call to pray for our enemies is most difficult. May we be faithful to pray for them despite our circumstances.
Father, we don’t know who was behind the tragedies in Boston, but we do know that they were human. And we know we are to pray for our enemies.
In Jesus we see humanities true identity as ones who are to be agents of life, not death. Jesus, as first of New Creation, invites all humanity to reflect and participate in New Creation.
Despite humanities sacred identity, evil often reveals itself through humanity. We must return to what we were created to be. May those behind this event return to who they were created to be.
We pray specifically that those involved in this violence return to their shared humanity as they confront the violence brought on fellow humans as a result of their actions. We pray that we don’t lose ours in the midst of it all.
May we embrace our vocation as peacemakers who are to be agents of restoration and reconciliation rather than divisiveness, enmity and violence.
We pray for a collective grieving that fuels our ability to live with compassion, generosity and wholeness.
We plead for your justice to reign as we announce and promote your Kingdom reign through our words and deeds.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.
The editors of Relevant Magazine asked to write a response to this question during the recent violence in Israel & Gaza. I was especially encouraged by two things: 1. Relevant is inviting its readers to critically engage the Middle East conflict through the lens of Jesus. 2. The overwhelming response and engagement of readers on this specific piece. For most, the conflict is easier to simply ignore, but these readers want to wrestle, think and live into a new reality.
Here is an excerpt. You can read the full article on Relevant Magazine’s website.
“As the conflict and many human lives hang in the balance, my heart is heavy.
Through my work with The Global Immersion Project, I have spent a significant amount of time over the years cultivating relationships among both Israelis and Palestinians as we partner together in cultivating a narrative of reconciliation. As is often the case when we approach a people or place with the hopes of being/bringing the needed change, I have been the one most changed by my friends and colleagues who reside in the Middle East. Behind so many of the subconscious stereotypes and prejudices I had acquired earlier in my life I began to experience the richness of friendship and brotherhood among people I had previously “known” only through the latest sound bite.
From Orthodox Jewish Rabbis to Christian Palestinian scholars to Muslim Palestinian leaders teaching the way of nonviolence, these are my friends, brothers, sisters and partners.
When my social media outlets began filling up with messages of fear, bloodshed and mourning my heart broke not only for a war half way across the globe, but for my friends. My teachers. My partners.
A Jewish Israeli friend wrote, “Siren in Tel Aviv. Just spoke to my father from the shelter.”
My Christian Palestinian brother shared multiple laments, “My friends in Gaza’s latest status update: “My Lord! This is enough! What is this?” “Lord protect us. What is this? Terror terror.” “The land is shaking.”
While many of these individuals are currently in immediate physical threat, a greater pain for them is seeing the seeds of violence being sown in the soil that they have tireless turned over for the sake of reconciliation.
Was all their work worth it or does this mean it was all-pointless and that there really is no hope?
My heart not only breaks for my friends in Israel and Palestine, but it breaks because of the hateful stereotyping, racism and violent response being disseminated by Christians as they watch the news unfold and enter the discussion.
As followers of the pro-people Jesus, is this best we can do? Is that a reflection of the Christian hope that was brought about by and through the acts of the Suffering Servant? Have we lost our imagination that leads to the participating in the restorative mission of God for the cosmos?
Friends, we can do better. We must do better.
How then shall we respond?“
Go HERE to read in its entirety.
Violence has dominated the past 24 in Israel and Palestine (Specifically in Gaza). I have both Israeli and Palestinian friends who are intimately impacted by this reality. A massive number of both Israeli’s and Palestinians condemn the current military actions and remain committed to choosing the way of peace. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we offer a prayer of Shalom/Salaam (peace in Hebrew & Arabic) in this tense time of conflict.
Reconciler and Ruler of heaven and earth, hear our prayer.
We celebrate the work of your hands and your heart for all people.
Be with those who are currently mourning the loss of loved ones and give them a community to stand with in the pain. Holy Spirit, protect their hearts from an inner violence that manifests itself in resentment, bitterness and hatred, which fosters further loss of life and broken relationship.
Be with those who are paralyzed in the fear of an uncertain future. May they instead be fueled with hope amid conflict that mobilizes a movement of reconciliation and understanding. Bring about a divine wave of humility among the leaders to pursue the way of negotiation rather than a posture of power.
May followers of Jesus in both Israel and Palestine live as salt and light in the center of it all.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Below is a timely and profound song from the Jewish artist Matisyahu who dreams of a reconciled future among Israel and Palestine.