As I’ve watched the coverage of the tragic events in Israel and the Gaza strip, I find myself feeling sadness and outrage. I’ve been reflecting on the words of Otis Moss III. In his book Dancing in the Darkness, he wrote, “As a matter of pure supernatural strength, Jesus always had the power to wipe out the armies of the Roman Empire that were pressing his people. At any moment on the cross, he had the power to climb down or even to fly away. The beauty of the narrative is his choice to restrain his power and say instead: I will bleed, I will cry, I will hurt, and I will die. Jesus restrained himself so extremely in order that God’s love would cease to seem some mysterious force, difficult for humans to understand.” Moss goes on to write, “Jesus restrained his power, not to show weakness or accept humiliation, but because it was the only way to achieve the greater good.”
I wish Hamas had shown restraint rather than commit such an atrocity. I pray for Israel to show restraint in its response to the attack. There’s an African proverb: “When two elephants wrestle, it’s the grass that gets the worst of it.” I pray for peace on behalf of all men, women, and children who grieve the death of a loved one. I pray for peace on behalf of all those whose lives are in danger through no fault of their own.
Almighty God, you created us in your own image.
Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil,
and to make no peace with oppression.
And, that we may reverently use our freedom,
help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice
to the glory of your holy name;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen
(The Book of Common Prayer)
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