Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Pastoral Letter on the Middle East

"For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us.

He has abolished the law with its commandments that he might create one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace." (Eph 2:14-15)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

I ask you join me in prayer for a lasting peace in the Middle East in the face of continuing violence there in recent weeks.

Please pray with me for an end to hostilities in Gaza, an end to the loss of innocent civilian lives, and an end to the threats to the population of Israel.

As Christians we mourn each individual life lost, and in particular the tragic deaths of many children.

I commend to you two prayers from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine shared with us through the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network and invite you to pray with the Palestinian Christian community at this difficult moment.

I also refer you a recent statement by the Australian Council of Christians and Jews that acknowledges narratives of loss and belonging on both sides of this painful conflict, and calls on all of us to recognise each other's humanity.

I hope to be able to convey our Church's heartfelt sorrow directly to leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities and to representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority when I convene a National Minister's Conference for 60 UCA ministers in Jerusalem next month.

In the meanwhile I ask that you continue to pray that God will grant healing to those suffering in the Middle East, and the Spirit will guide all of us to live together in justice and peace.
Grace and peace

Andrew Dutney (Rev. Prof)
President, Uniting Church in Australia Assembly
7 August 2014

 

Two Prayers from Palestine

We pray for peace in Gaza, for an end to the violence and bloodshed. We pray that those in authority in the government of Israel, in Hamas and in the international community will work together for peace and for an end to the blockade of Gaza. We pray to you, O God.

We pray that the Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice and the difficulty of everyday life, do not lose hope in your justice and mercy. We pray that they do not give in to despair
and continue to place their hope for a better future in the strength of your hope. We pray to you, O God.

We pray for all those who are in a state of sorrow and grief, that they may be released of their suffering and be granted the consolation of God. We pray to you, O God.

We pray that God will strengthen our commitment to the work of genuine peace in Palestine and Israel, built on justice and equality for all, so that future generations will live in happiness and tranquillity. We pray to you, O God.

(adapted from a prayer written by Palestinian Christians, September 2012)

 

Almighty God, heavenly Father, hear our prayers. Help us work together towards freedom, justice and peace. Fill our heart with love and compassion and help us achieve just peace without which no security can be guaranteed for anybody. Remind us that we are all created in your image, and that we can all triumph over every evil and live in your peace, and not only by human treaties and agreements. Amen.

(National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine, July 2014)