Last Friday at sundown, our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world lit Shabbat candles with no idea of the horrors that were about to unfold with the Hamas attacks on Israel. Tonight, those candles are being lit by the shaking hands, broken hearts, and agonized spirits of a people at war.
No one is untouched by these events. We grieve with our Jewish friends. We mourn the inevitable loss of life, especially among the most vulnerable on both sides. We rage at the reality of terrorism and of violent regimes that force people in so many countries to live in fear. And we lament the dreams shattered—especially the dream of peace in the Holy Land, sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
In the face of so much despair, let us cling to these words from the Book of Lamentations:
But this I will call to mind;
therefore I will hope:
The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,
his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning—
great is your faithfulness! (3:21-23)
On this Sabbath evening, as the sun goes down, we invite you to join us in this prayer for peace:
God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims, and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.
– Reverend Said Ailabouni