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[image: grant macdonald]

As violence in the Middle East rages on, how can we not come to God in prayer?  The complexities and nature of the historical, cultural and political realities are overwhelming for most of us and in times like these, all I know to do is to pray for understanding that may yield words and deeds that are pleasing to God.

I wish it were that simple. 

Even as I write this post, I am reliving in my head some of the words that have either been addressed to me or where I have been included in the communication threads. I have been both uplifted and disheartened in the ways we engage in the discourse as we model both the finest and the worst of who we can be as Christ's people.

A few days ago our Stated Clerk, Grady Parsons, issued a statement that begins with words that should help us to focus on where we can find common ground, at least for the short term.

Whether Jew, Muslim, or Christian, we share commandments of love for God and neighbor. Therefore, all violence in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank must stop. Whatever its stated justifications, we know from years of conflict in the region that the resort to violence inevitably leaves behind death, injury, fear, and deepened feelings of hostility.

[READ FULL STATEMENT]

What I hope and pray for is this: an unconditional end to the violence for the short term and a just resolution to tensions in the long term.  While I certainly have my personal opinions on this, this is not that time.  Bigger than finding victory for any of our intellectual and theological positions is to find a way to find peace and a stop to the violence.   People are dying, homes are being destroyed and generations to come are inheriting even more pain, destruction and hatred from which they will need to heal.

What shall we do, how shall we be part of something truly greater than ourselves now and into the future?  I rest on counsel of people I trust, I rest on the healthy discourse that occurs within communities and I rest on the eternal hope and trust I have in God's presence and hope.  And while actions are indeed needed, sometimes those actions, built on God's hope, are what will get us through it all with grace, dignity and wholeness.

My prayer this day . . .

God, when will it stop?  When will we learn?

Allow WISDOM to be with those who are in positions of power and authority that they may use both well.

Bring HEALING to so many who are living lives of physical, emotional and political fear, pain and destruction.

Let PEACE be embraced by all of your creation: the young, old, innocent, guilty, passionate, complacent, gathered and forgotten.

All of your children, God, all of your children.

God, hear our prayers . . .

This is my prayer.

Please share yours.

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