The land of Palestine and Israel is once again embroiled in war.
This time, violence was reignited on October 7, when members of the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack from land, sea and air on unsuspecting young adults, children, and families throughout the southern portion of Israel. Hundreds were killed, and many Israelis (and some Americans) were taken as hostages—and are still captive—in Gaza.
Israeli Jews are not the only people suffering by any means. The people in Gaza are now under relentless military assault by the Israeli military seeking retaliation and destruction of Hamas. Over many years, and through a litany of conflicts, Palestinians have been forced into small, shrinking, and walled-off areas of land—with desperately limited resources, little economic agency, and restricted powers of self-determination. The current violence is being inflicted against that persistent backdrop of desperation.
What I offer today, quite meagerly, is a call to pray and act as we are able.
- We can engage meaningful dialogue with others of differing opinions and perspectives, learning from one another.
- We can write letters and make calls to our representatives in government, articulating our concerns and convictions.
- We can give to Episcopal Relief (https://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-resources/responding-to-israel-hamas-war/?fbclid=IwAR2UV0gGnFI97mUjpwr6F7TKO7BHVMVNjxVirbr3ZyIlV9vIUHwuyP4Tqxs) to support the Al Ahli Hospital, ministering to those wounded in Gaza.
- We can be peacemakers in our own neighborhoods and circles of relationship, seeking to serve Christ in all persons.
- We can respect the dignity of every human being, as our baptismal covenant invites us to do, not allowing any side to become dehumanized or seen as expendable in our consideration of problems and solutions.
And we can pray. We can pray together on Sunday and we can here and now.
Loving and liberating Creator, send your healing Spirit upon all involved in the current conflict and violence in the Middle East. Comfort those who mourn or who have been harmed by brutality. Stand with those who are fearful. Protect and provide for the powerless and the vulnerable. Inspire a spirit of forbearance and understanding within all and uphold those who even now work for a just and durable peace. In the name of Christ. Amen.
(Prayer from the Diocese of Olympia)
The Rev. R. Scott Painter, Rector