This week, around the world, we turn our gaze to The Holy Land. Leaders, both secular and religious, have spoken out about the violence in Israel, Gaza, and the surrounding areas. On Wednesday evening, we as The Hearth, prayed for the countless innocent victims and asked ourselves how we can do better.
Across the world, the global Catholic Church is meeting for their Synod Assembly; and on Thursday morning, they also prayed for the Middle East. One relevant voice in Thursday’s prayers was Margaret Karram, a Christian Palestinian born in Israel and now the President of the Focalare Movement, whose aim is to “contribute to building a more united world in which people value and respect diversity…inspired by Jesus’ prayer to the Father, ‘May they all be one.’ (John 17:21)”. I would like to share excerpts of Karram’s prayer with you today:
“Lord, we pray to you for the Holy Land, for the people of Israel and Palestine who are under the grip of unprecedented violence, for the victims, especially the children, for the wounded, for those held hostage, for the missing and their families…In these hours of anguish and suspension, we join our voices to that of the Pope and to the choral prayer of those around the world who implore peace…Help us, Lord, to commit ourselves to building a fraternal world so that these peoples and those in the same conditions of conflict of instability and violence may find the path of respect for human rights where justice, dialogue and reconciliation are the indispensable tools for building peace.”
And I would add my own:
God of Abraham, may we come alongside our neighbors, regardless of where we position ourselves politically or religiously. May we be peacemakers and advocates for justice. God of the Exodus, may we not fall into the temptation of complacency, where we - safe and secure, fed and sheltered - see suffering glibly as another’s problem and excuse it simply as preparation for individual salvation. May we instead view suffering up close, as an invitation to join with God in overturning tables for justice, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and fighting for peace. Amen.
Churchers, may you find comfort in these trying times while also responding to the call of discomfort that beckons us into the valley of suffering alongside our neighbors.