Now, Lord, come to our aid!
Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed.
I was there when it started. But more importantly, when and how will it end?
After time in Bethlehem at a conference led by Palestinians about their experience of Israeli occupation and how they might resist in ways that affirm their dignity and claim their rights, I moved on to Jerusalem to await 29 others who would join me for a dual-narrative tour of Israel and Palestine. We intended to meet with Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabic Christians and Muslims, who are planting seeds of hope for peaceful coexistence in the Holy Land.
Before our tour could begin, it was derailed by the devastating attack of Hamas from Gaza and the immediate response of the Israeli military. Hopes of meeting with peacemakers were postponed by the ensuing war. In the midst of this winter of violence, the prospects of peace hide as seeds in the ground that await a coming spring.
As people of faith, we know that God is close to those who suffer, regardless of what flags they fly or uniforms they wear. It is up to us in these days to choose sides with all the brokenhearted, with all those crushed in spirit.
In the meantime, we must keep planting seeds of peace and wait in hope for the coming harvest.
Question to Ponder:
Who do you know who is personally touched by the tragedy of this war in Israel and Palestine? Consider what words of comfort you could offer them that might plant seeds of peace.
Ever-loving God, you have made each of us and all of us in your image.
And you have given us to one another to discover you in the face of our neighbor.
Grant me grace to see you in others and to pursue the path of peace.
Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: “Never again war!”; “With war everything is lost”. Instill in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace.