Like many, I am saddened by the news that we are receiving from the Middle East with renewed conflict between Israel and Palestine. In times like these, it is tempting to pick a side as right and to vilify the other side. It is tempting to take the opposite approach as well. We can be tempted to think that because it is happening on the other side of the world, we cannot be bothered to care.
As Christians we should be bothered. As those who follow the prince of peace, we should be concerned when the world is at war. As those who worship a God of justice, we should be concerned when injustice is perpetuated. At the same time, we can care without being partisan. We can choose to be on the side of peace and justice instead of picking a particular side. Regardless of who the guilty party is, we should be able to grieve what is wrong. To systematically deny a people group rights and self-determination is wrong. Terrorism is wrong. Bombing hospitals is wrong.
While we can stand for peace and justice, we are probably realistic enough to know that these problems on the world stage are above our paygrade. Sharing our opinions on the subject are not going to do anything to solve the crisis. In these instances, our best course of action is to pray and trust that God can and will work to bring light out of the darkness once again.
I encourage you to join me this month in regularly praying for peace. I will be using this prayer, adopted from the United Methodist Book of Worship:
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace,
Remember the peoples of the world divided into many nations and tongues. Please deliver us from every evil that obstructs your saving purpose, and fulfill your promises of old to establish your kingdom of peace.
From the curse of war and all that creates it, deliver us.
From narrow loyalties and selfish isolation, deliver us.
From the lust for might, power, and wealth that drives people to slaughter, deliver us.
From putting our trust in weapons of war, deliver us.
From a disregard for justice and compassion, deliver us.
From every thought, word, and deed that divides and separates us from the perfect realization of your love, deliver us.
Deliver us from evil, and grant us peace we pray. Amen.