Saturday, March 8, 2014
“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:17-20)
A friend of mine who is working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, Palestine, posted on his Facebook wall last Thursday “This morning I carried 5 year old Palestinian Kindergartners through tear gas. Not walked, not escorted...CARRIED these little precious babies to school. I am tired of Occupation, I am tired of hearing 'Israel has a right to be here, and they are protecting themselves.' Come to the Middle East, carry a crying child to school as they choke on tear gas, and tell me that Israel has a right to exist in it's current State!”
It hard to imagine being a child in my friend’s testimony. Its hard to imagine how he or she could grow up without a bitter and angry view of the world. Its hard to imagine being the mother of one of those children who sends her children off to school each day knowing of hardship that her child must endure just to get to school, just to get an education. Its hard not to be filled with anger. And yet there are mothers, fathers, children in Palestine and throughout the world who despite the violence and oppression that they experience every day, love “in truth and action.”
In Archbishop Desmond Tutu once wrote that we are not called to like our enemies by we are called love them. And that dynamic act of love includes speaking up, calling out, living with, and acting with those who we want least to be around. While God does not call us into every struggle, we are called to struggle and to love fiercely. Whether loving by carrying a child through tear gas to school or loving by witnessing to the soldiers the injustice in which they engage.
Dear God, I pray for the children of Hebron, Palestine, that they might find hope in a situation of anger, hurt and despair. I pray for the soldiers, those who set off the tear gas and those who stood by in silent consent, that they might know that your love is greater than their fear. I pray dear God, also for those who are trying to love all of those involve, to love in truth and action, that they may find strength and courage to engage deeply in the faithfulness you have made available to them.