Over the weekend, the world was shocked and grief-stricken to see the attacks in Israel on unarmed civilians, resulting in many deaths and numerous hostages. Here in the US, I know that many Jews and others were deeply grieved and traumatized by the deaths and the graphic violence shown in videos of the victims, as well as videos of people around the world celebrating the violence that occurred.
The situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza is deeply complex, as all acknowledge, and a peaceful solution to generations of conflict seems very far away. But there is no excuse for terrorist acts against civilians, and we must offer our prayers for civilians held captive and innocent people in danger in this broadening conflict.
As Christians, we are also aware of the increasing tide of anti-Semitism that our Jewish neighbors face here in the US, with Americans openly flaunting neo-Nazi symbols, frequent threats of violence against Jewish houses of worship, and a rising threat of Christian nationalism that marginalizes people of other faiths. Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, and our neighbors of all faiths must be free to live and worship in peace. The current wave of violence evokes horrifying memories of centuries of violence against Jewish people. For those who are grieving the violence, we must offer our support and understanding. Your Jewish friends are suffering – please offer them your prayers and support.
Throughout the world, we must pray for long-term peace in the Middle East. The Episcopal Church has long supported a two-state solution to the conflict in which a secure and universally recognized State of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people. As we face renewed violence and conflict in the Holy Land that is sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths, we pray for peace. I ask you to join me in prayer for an end to this conflict:
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, all people may live in justice and peace. We pray now for peace among the nations, and especially for the people of Israel and Palestine. Guide us all into the way of justice and truth, and establish among us that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that all people may live and flourish in the world you have created. All this we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook
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