Sunday, August 3, 2014

O Jerusalem!

Jesus approached Jerusalem. When he saw the city, he began to sob.  
He said, “I wish you had known today what would bring you peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes."
Luke 19:41-42 NIRV 

My heart aches for all of our neighbors in Israel/Palestine during this terrible time of conflict. Nearly 70 Israeli citizens have been killed, several of them civilians, by rockets and other mortar attacks launched by members of Hamas. And there have been over 1700 Palestinians deaths, most of them civilians, and with many others severely injured in recent Israeli bombardments in Gaza, an area about the size of Philadelphia but with a much larger population, around 1.7 million. Over 100,000 Gazans are now homeless and have virtually no place to flee for refuge. Their plight is unimaginable.

Home destroyed by Hamas rocket
I have always been in support of Jewish refugees from around the world being able to find a safe home in Israel. A world that largely ignored the awful suffering brought on them by the Holocaust owes them this refuge. But I am grieved when those who have been so oppressed themselves become oppressors of their fellow Semite neighbors in Palestine, Christians and Muslims alike, who have lived in that land for generations.

So while I support Israel, I am in equal support of the Palestinian people having the opportunity to live in safety and dignity and with the basic human rights all people deserve. And I deplore the actions of Hamas members firing rockets into Israel. Any use of bombs against any vulnerable human beings, however delivered, is unconscionable.

Child victim of Israeli bombing
Today I picture Jesus again weeping over Jerusalem. We should weep with him, and mourn the fact that people the world over, Jews, Muslim and Christians alike, are so blinded to what would bring them peace--a radical renunciation of war itself, a laying down of weapons and taking up the cross instead of taking up arms.

We've tried every other possible way of achieving shalom. It's time we pay heed to the nonviolent life and teaching of the Prince of Peace, which means that when both sides in a conflict like this are engaged in killing and destroying, we consistently take sides against killing and destroying. Period.

Here's a link to some of the history behind this conflict.

And here's a link to my friend Daryl Byler's op ed piece in yesterday's DNR, the text of which can be found on his blog:

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