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Editorial: A lament for Jerusalem


People shouldn’t die for a place — even if it is Jerusalem.

That’s the thought that continually ran through our minds as we witnessed images of violence in Gaza. Palestinians and Israeli soldiers clashed as the U.S. moved its embassy in Jerusalem — the city Jesus wept for more than 2,000 years ago, lamenting “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).

A rock inscribed with the words “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” at The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.

If you’ve visited Israel, you’ve probably seen engraved plaques and stones bearing the words “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” quoting Psalm 122. Today, those words sound elusive, even hollow.

Can we acknowledge the right of the Jewish people for a homeland after ages of oppression yet still empathize with the plight of the Palestinians? Can we cry for justice as we decry acts of terror? Are we helping to find solutions? Or is our nation only making things worse?

“It’s easy for us to sit in air-conditioned comfort and proclaim that it shouldn’t matter where a building is located. We don’t see here what they see in Israel.”

Meaningless, meaningless, are all human attempts to bring peace to this embattled land, the setting of blessed stories many of us have known since we were children. We’ve memorized the names: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Judea. The mere mention of these places evokes in us a sense of joy. But not today.

The pages of this newspaper show us that places don’t define the Lord’s church. We see Jesus working among the poor in places like Haiti, Guatemala, India, Cambodia and Kenya. Christians drill for water, bring physical healing and foster faith communities in places first- century believers couldn’t fathom.

It’s easy for us to sit in air-conditioned comfort and proclaim that it shouldn’t matter where a building is located. We don’t see here what they see in Israel.

But we praise God that, in these pages, we see believers in the humblest of circumstances, in parts of the world known only for hardship and cruelty, demonstrate for us that family, faith and joy can exist anywhere.

People shouldn’t die for a place — even if it is Jerusalem.

Filed under: Editorial Editorial Israel Opinion Peace

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