“I’ll pour robust well-being into her like a river, the glory of nations like a river in flood. You’ll nurse at her breasts, nestle in her bosom, and be bounced on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
The prophet Isaiah offers us words of hope in the midst of chaos, words of hope which anchor us and this world to the path of peace. Our world is again at war with itself, war which is tearing apart families and killing the innocence of yet another generation. The words of Isaiah remind us of the nature of life which is a deeper relationship with each other and our world, which is the gift of God's love for the benefit of all. In God there is no winner or loser, there is just worthy. Everyone is worthy of God's love, a love which is strained today.
Part of being in a deeper relationship is waiting for those who are affected to speak first, so any reflection we offer only amplifies what they share with us. The clergy and people of Israel and Palestine have now spoken via a pastoral letter, which is linked here, a letter I commend to you as we seek to make sense of this destruction and pain.
As church, a universal body with a specific localization we love called St. Francis, we are called to action through prayer. Prayer which often in the face of these challenges feels useless given the needs, and yet, in all things prayer is always the answer. Prayer heals. Prayer unites. Prayer strengthens. Prayer gives us hope that we are not alone because prayer always outlasts the conflict. Prayer builds relationships.
So I ask you, my friends, to join the churches in Israel and Palestine, on October 17, for a day of fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer which is about giving our time and attention to the people of the middle east, and making our time only about them. While fasting is often associated with food, it can also apply to social media or any other thing which may distract our attention from the call of prayer. I invite you to go deeper with me in relationship as we pray for everyone, Israeli and Palestinian, that peace will flow like a river again in the cradle of civilization.
And as you offer the prayers of your heart for our sisters and brothers on every side, I invite you to write messages of prayer and deeper relationship to Rabbi Philip Gibbs and the community of Har El, our local synagogue, and to Ambassador Mona Abu Amara, Chief Representative of the Palestinian General Delegation in Ottawa. As Christians we are called to pray for everyone, and today everyone on both sides needs our prayers.
Ambassador Mona Abu Amara, Chief Representative of the Palestinian General Delegation
18 The Driveway, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1C6, Canada
Rabbi Philip Gibbs & the Community of Har El
1305 Taylor Way, West Vancouver, BC, V7T 2Y7, Canada
So join me, my friends, as we gather with Christians around the world anchoring ourselves in the ancient practice of prayer together. Pray with me that the Kingdom of God may finally take root, that all war may cease, all weapons may finally be formed into plowshares, and the lion and the lamb may truly rest together (Isaiah 2).
May this prayer ring throughout the world to anchor the hearts of all those assaulted by the degradation of war, with the knowledge of our love and companionship.
Thank God for you,