This morning in my seemingly never ending list f emails was one from Bethlehem Bible College asking for prayers in the light of escalating violence not just between Israel and Gaza but also regarding communal violence between Jews and Arabs in various cities in Israel.
The phrase “communal violence” brings to mind terrible conflicts of the last century such as the ethnic war of the 1990s breaking up Yugoslavia and the displacement of Muslims and Hindus at the time of the 1947 India-Pakistan partition. Long festering anger and hate explodes and people are attacked because of who they are.
Prayer is more than wishing that things would get better. Prayer opens us to insight and developing a plan of action. This is true whether we are talking about the violence we now see in Israel and Gaza or in our own personal lives. Prayer opens us to new ways of thinking about justice and peace, for without the former we cannot have the latter.
Prayer for the Day
Open not just our hearts, O God, but our eyes and minds,
Enabling us to look at the world from a new perspective;
We know, O Lord, that discernment is a difficult process,
But we also know that we must undergo this search.
Clothe us with your wisdom empowering us to work for justice,
And teach us the ways of creating peace in a violent world.
In the name of him who called peacemakers blessed,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
I am a daughter of the land, and Jerusalem reassures me of this inalienable right, far more than the yellowed property deeds, the Ottoman land registries, the iron keys to our stolen homes, or UN resolutions and decrees of superpowers could ever do.
Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian-American writer, peace activist
Your ways, O Lord, inform me, your paths, instruct me;
Lead me in your truth and instruct me, for you are the God of my rescue;
In you do I hope every day.
Recall your mercies, O Lord, and your kindnesses – they are forever.
Psalm 25: 4-6