Reflections and Prayer for Israel, Palestine, and the World
-Clint McCann, Evangelical Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Eden Theological Seminary-
Given the centuries-long and troubled history of conflict in Israel/Palestine, as well as the extraordinary complexity of recent history (since World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948) and current events (since October 7), it is difficult to know what to think and say, other than to lament the staggering inhumanity of humanity. We must say, however, that the indiscriminate slaughter and kidnapping of innocent civilians is deplorable and cannot be tolerated. Such violence will only beget more violence – indeed, it already has among innocent civilians in Gaza.
I realize that the U. S. government has failed to ask the Israeli government to act with restraint; but I pray for restraint, at least as much restraint as is possible as Israel seeks to secure its legitimate borders and protect its citizens from further harm. Violence will only beget more violence.
And I pray for compassion on all sides, compassion that will permit an immediate and abundant flow of humanitarian aid from the world community into the Gaza Strip.
And I pray for peace – “the peace of Jerusalem” (see Psalm 122:6) and throughout Israel, the peace of Gaza and throughout the Palestinian territories, and peace on earth (We are in the midst of the Week of Prayer for World Peace, October 15-21).
And I pray for justice, for there will be no lasting peace without justice, which the Bible defines as attentiveness to and provision for the most vulnerable (see Psalm 82:1-3), on nothing short of a worldwide scale (Psalm 82:8). So, I conclude with Psalm 82:8 (which echoes in part the world-encompassing perspective of Psalm 72:17b, Genesis 12:3, and Isaiah 2:2-4):
Arise, O God, establish justice on earth;
for all the nations belong to you! (McCann translation)