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A Prayer for the Middle East at a Time of War

 

John H. Thomas, General Minister and President

United Church of Christ

 

July 19, 2006

 

You did not make us, O God, to die in bomb craters or to huddle through the night in basement shelters.  You made us to play under olive trees and cedars and to sleep soundly with animal toys and gentle lovers.  Lord, have mercy.

 

You did not make us, O God, to hold hostages for barter or to rain deadly fury on innocent children and beautiful coast lands.  You made us, O God, to welcome strangers and to cherish all creation.  Christ, have mercy.

 

You did not make us, O God, to oppress in the name of security or to kill in the name of justice.  You made us, O God, to find security in justice and to risk life in the name of peace.  Lord, have mercy.

 

While leaders in Tel Aviv and Damascus, Tehran, Washington, and southern Lebanon pander to ancient fears, claim the mantle of righteous victim, and pursue their little empires in the name of gods of their own devising, the people of Lebanon and northern Israel are made captive to fear, true victims whose only advocate is You.  Save us from self-justifying histories and from moral equations that excuse our folly.  Search our hearts for our own complicity.  Spare us from pious prayers that neglect the prophet’s angry cry.  Let us speak a resounding “no” to this warring madness and thus unmake our ways of death, so that we may be made more and more into your image.  Kyrie eleison.  Kyrie eleison.  Kyrie eleison.


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