The events of last weekend in Israel were horrifying.  The Hamas attack on innocent Jewish civilians was evil. Listening to the accounts of barbaric, murderous, hate filled violence has sickened me.  It has been unimaginable. The sight of innocent civilians suffering in Gaza is also hard to watch. There is so much anger, fear and confusion on both sides and it has touched and wounded so many families all around the world and continues to do so.

The issues in Palestine and Israel are so deep and complicated and the images of this week so raw that I find myself speechless.  At times I have even been thinking things that simply can’t be uttered aloud.  It is hard to find the right words when there are no words.

However, I have been reaching out to Jewish rabbis with whom I have had the opportunity to work through the years.  I have told them how deeply upsetting it is to see the horrendous violence Israelis have endured at the hands of Hamas terrorists this week.  I have assured them of my solidarity and prayerful support.  Similarly, I have reached out to Imams with whom I have worked and to a Palestinian leader.  All of these people have given their lives to build bridges for peace and I have written to thank them and assure them of my prayers for them and for a true and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel.

It is natural that fear and anger are coming to the fore, but the best things we can do, and perhaps the only things, are to pray for peace and to reach out to people we know whose community or loved ones are impacted and assure them of our concern and our prayers for justice and peace.

A Prayer for Peace

Gracious and merciful God, on this day when some call for rage, we pray for peace, but we know there can be no peace without justice and so we turn this great crisis in Israel and Palestine to you remembering that vengeance is yours and not ours.  You alone are able to discern and find a way beyond the anger, hatred, and fear.  Show us the way and shine your light into the hearts of those filled with hate that, like Saul of Tarsus, they might come alive to love.  Strengthen all who seek to build bridges for peace and understanding.  Silence the bombs and the weapons of destruction.  Save the children and the aged. Watch over and protect emergency service workers, doctors and nurses and bring healing and comfort through their hands.  Protect the homes and lives of innocent civilians and even in the midst of a blockade open doors to healing and hope.  Bring to the table the best minds and hearts and through the process plant the seeds of a true and lasting peace.  We pray these things in the name of the One who is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.