Thursday, July 1, 2010

Captain of Israel's host and Guide

Good morning God,

I was moved by our Church yesterday, by its willingness to engage in difficult debates on sensitive issues with care, compassion, and conviction that social holiness means wrestling with issues of justice, even with, or rather especially with, friends.

The debate on Justice for Palestine and Israel was always going to be difficult, there are strong feelings on both sides..
Just how many Methodists will boycott settlement goods remains to be seen. Here in the UK we are only a small Church with no real clout - but we are also part of a much larger international body, and this resolution and report may yet contribute to the work of the social responsibility committee of the World Methodist Council.

We cannot claim we do not know about the pain of the Palestinians:
Neither can we ignore the question
'who is my neighbour?'
Especially not when they lie bloodied and broken in the streets of what was once their home town.

There is no magic answer to the problem, and I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to live in constant fear of a rocket attack or suicide bomber.. but this I do know, you cannot combat fear with terror, and racial injustice is a denial of the gospel - wherever it is found, in London or Palestine..

There is now in Christ, neither Jew nor Gentile - that includes Palestinians...

I do not take sides either for or against Jews or Palestinians - but I pray I have the courage to stand for something more important - the equality of all humanity before God, and the right of all people to live as the words of the Conference closing hymn says 'As Far from danger as from fear'

CAPTAIN of Israel's host, and guide
Of all who seek the land above,
Beneath thy shadow we abide,
The cloud of thy protecting love;
Our strength, thy grace; our rule, thy word;
Our end, the glory of the Lord.

By thine unerring Spirit led,
We shall not in the desert stray;
We shall not full direction need,
Nor miss our providential way;
As far from danger as from fear,
While love, almighty love, is near.

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