A good friend contacted me today and said that it sounded if I was taking sides in the conflict between Israel and Palestine and believing Islamic/Palestinian propaganda (in my previous blog).
I am not taking sides but was merely using the real world to pose the difficult question of how are Christians salt and light in an extremely complicated and volatile world? We can all have the tendency to listen to news and propaganda in a manner that reinforces our biases or prejudices and prevents us from hearing another side. How do we guard against being simplistic, or only advocating a solution that demands the annihilation of the other?
What about Paul’s application of Jesus’ life death and resurrection regarding a new Israel and the new Jerusalem? What does it mean for there to be neither Greek nor Jew in Christ? In other words how can we hold these tensions that are not humanly easy to grasp and advocate for both Palestinian and Jew, and everyone else? Surely the answer is in loving one another as I have loved you? If ever there was a truth in this instance in Jesus’ words…. “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
That does not mean that if the radical Islamic cry is to annihilate Israel from the face of the earth it should not be resisted and defended against. Likewise for the radical Jewish response to give no room for Palestinians to live and thrive there should be equal resistance and questioning.
I thought it maybe helpful to clarify in case of misunderstanding. I certainly am not naïve and know that I sound idealistic – or maybe not? Because to say that would be to throw a substantial portion of Jesus’ teaching out the window under the same banners.
This afternoon I received an email from Ruth Fazal who is a concert violinist and worship leader. She now lives in Israel and has written a very moving oratorio for those children who died in the holocaust. She concluded her note to her group of subscribers:
Here is a song that is on my album ‘So Close’. It is a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122)
And pray for all those who are suffering, both in Israel and in Gaza. The situation is, as one of my friends in Israel described it to me today ( a fellow musician, not a believer) – “Ruth, the situation is insane!”