I began praying for Israel and the Middle East several years ago. I pray for strength and courage for those who face terrible situations, I pray for the work of Mama Maggie in Egypt, and I pray for peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”*
The situation in Israel and Palestine is sad beyond words. It is tempting to want to portray one side as ‘good’ and the other as ‘bad’. After all, this makes any response much easier… but this is the real world. There are no such things as ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ unless you’re nine years old. Humanity is too complex, and ultimately too frail, to be viewed in this simplistic manner. There have been acts of good and bad on both sides. Evil has warped (some of ) the minds of both Israelis and Palestinians. My brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to be Palestinian have been on the receiving end of Israeli violence just as much as their Muslim neighbours.
…he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” **
I wonder what would have happened if, during the decades of terrorism of the IRA at the end of the 20th century, Britain had bombed Dublin? Would there not have been international outcry? When I was a little girl my father’s London office was blown up by the IRA. If the bomb had gone off at the right time it would have killed hundreds of men and women who had nothing whatsoever to do with the political situation, my daddy included. I was at a railway station the day another bomb was due to go off. If the bomb had killed my dad, would I have wanted revenge? If the other bomb had killed me, would my family have wanted revenge? It is a natural response, but in Israel and Palestine, just as in Britain and Ireland, violence never solved anything. It never will. Violence leads to violence, which leads to more and more innocent victims – be they Jewish, Muslim, Christian or none of the above. As I said the other day in my post about the turmoil elsewhere in the Middle East, evil begets evil. It has to stop.
When Love was flogged, when Love was spat upon, when Love was ridiculed and stripped naked and forced to walk to His place of execution, when Love was bound and nailed to a cross, He did not declare war or vengeance. Love could have called down all the angels of heaven with fire and trumpets and wrath. But He didn’t. Instead, the voice of Love said, “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.”
Please join me in praying for peace and a lasting end to violence.
‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.’****
* John 14:27
**** Galatians 3:28