A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Meditation Moment in Lent ~ Day 28: Give Up, Take On, Pray '24

March 16, 2024 ~ 5th Saturday in Lent
Every War Has Passionate Reasons on All Sides
And Passionate Supporters and Detractors
Taking Sides Requires Full Knowledge of ALL Reasons, And
In-Depth Self-Examination as to Why One Cause is Chosen Over Another
And Every War has Innocents On All Sides Caught in the Middle

"Racism, prejudice and discrimination still exist in the world, and the Jews have endured the longest continuous manifestation of this racism. I have written that we, as Palestinians, should face Israel candidly and say that we are appalled by the Holocaust, that we should open our hearts "and with a new, magnanimous attitude we should say to the Jews, 'We will accept you and share the land with you. You have suffered for so long. Come share our land. This is God's land. We will live in it together as brothers and sisters.'"    
~ Naim Stifan Ateek* 

    After the discoveries and then acknowledgement of the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, in which the Jewish people were the largest but not the only targets, a homeland for the Jews was understandably and sympathetically promoted for Palestine as "A Land Without People for People Without A Land," because this desert land would obviously be mostly uninhabited. But the significant fly in the ointment of the great repatriation was there were many people already there for thousands of years: a few Jewish people and also many non-Jewish people ~ Muslims, Christians, and people of a variety of beliefs, cultures, and traditions. But if you’d never been there, it seemed more than reasonable through the publicity campaign that a “deserted” piece of land would be mostly uninhabited and ready for Settlement.
    The debates, the wars, the persecutions, the walls, the barbed wire fences, the guns, the bombs, the bloodshed continue and escalate on a daily basis...and yet, a question always remains: to whom does the land of the Earth really belong? 
    We cannot take the land with us when we die but so many are willing to die ~ or to kill ~ to prove it. While this is one example, think Ukraine, Crimea, "Yugoslavia," Turkey and Greece, Russia and China and Mongolia, Asia, the South Pacific and Caribbean Islands, North/Central and South America, Africa, etc., and everywhere the suppression of Indigenous Peoples occurs. Religion isn't the primary force as it's more like race, ethnicity, gender identity, and intentionally false propaganda, etc. Its true purpose is more likely and simply that it's a useful ruse. 
   The really bad news is that this distorted "hatred" isn't limited to full scale war between or among two or more countries. It happens among a few people that are so dogmatic and doctrinally committed that criminalizing, imprisoning, and even killing others becomes acceptable among otherwise ordinary, "very nice people" who have been taught to disapprove of people of color, people with differences of sexual orientation and gender identity, even those with disabilities, and just because someone who has human power over them and proclaims some "divine" authority tells them it must be done.
   Religion is not the reason, but it can be a useful excuse to exercise power, and, all-too-often to feel better when others engage in ethnic and other human cleansing aka: murder, for God and Country.

God of Heaven and of Earth, and of all the Universes known and unknown:

          We grieve for the pain and suffering, the torment and anger on all sides of this and every other feud over who can, must, should, shouldn't, can't live here or there, do this or do that because... Deep as the core of this earth, the anguish belongs to everyone. We are all Your people: Jews, Christians, and Muslims are ALL Children of Abraham, and the vast millions of others whose beliefs about You are different. But You created EVERY ONE of us ~ please, we implore, we beseech, we beg You ~ show Your care for Your children everywhere and help us all learn to care for each other and to live together in peace, safety, and freedom. Open our eyes, our hearts, and our souls to see ourselves in each other's faces and especially in the faces of all of our children. 
     For today I must give up thinking more about fixing blame and take on learning more about the history of all sides of a conflict whether in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, and the entire world which, of course, includes my own country, my city, and even my family. I pray for the courage to support and participate with those who abhor violence in all forms and who will encourage dialogue to promote understanding among us all. Help us especially with the eternal question: Who really are my neighbors, as Jesus specifically says we are to love as our selves? I entreat You through the Saving Love of Jesus the Christ, and the Wisdom of Your Holy Spirit, who live and reign with You as one, the Creator of ALL, for now, for tomorrow, for eternity. amen.

*The Rev Dr Naim Ateek is a Palestinian priest in the Anglican Church and founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. A former Canon of St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, Dr. Ateek is a much sought after lecturer at home and abroad and receives support across all denominations and faith traditions including those of the Jewish faith.  Educated at Hardin-Simmons University, Baptist University in Abilene, Texas; and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a seminary in the US Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California, Dr. Ateek is a well-respected author of a number of books and articles on Palestinian Liberation Theology, and he has been the recipient of many honors and awards for his work.

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