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praying for peace

January 10, 2011

When I came to live in the Middle East, I knew I was walking into a region that some people only think of in terms of conflict and violence. Arabs = terrorists. Every country is at the brink of war. Muslims and Christians and Jews all hate each other. Etc., etc., pile on the baloney. So I was a tiny bit hoping to demonstrate that life in this part of the world is far more interesting and complicated than the movies would have you believe. But I also came knowing that there is a peace/conflict dimension to this region that’s a little more in-your-face than it is in other parts of the world. Kind of inescapable, even if the stereotypes are ridiculous.

Confession: I’m often not a very optimistic person when it comes to the dark and fallen world we live in. I mean, a part of me really wants to be, because I prefer to have a sunny outlook on things in general. But I have to admit I scoff inside when I see people donning peace signs and updating their Facebook statuses with pretty little sayings from wise exotic people, as if that’s all it will take for the rest of us to live in harmony forever. Cue the Kumbaya. Not.

And yet. Sometimes I look around, and I see the conflict, and the brokenness, and the altogether hopelessness, and I get it. I get that impulse to wear my longing for peace on my sleeve (sometimes literally). To charge forward and demand it, even if I don’t really know what it exactly entails. To quote someone else’s hard-earned, hopeful words in the absence of any real insight or experience of my own, tangled as I am in my little safety net of privilege and self-centeredness.  I feel my desperation colliding with my helplessness, the knowledge that there is so little I can do, and yet whatever I can do, I must do.

That’s all a long way of saying that my heart is heavy with fear and hope regarding several conflict-ridden situations at the moment, most of them local. Because I don’t believe peace comes easy, and yet I do believe it’s in the master plan…

I’m praying for Sudan.
I’m praying for Israel and Palestine.
I’m praying for the struggling Christians in Iraq and Christians in Egypt, and for the societal tensions within each country that the recent attacks have revealed.
And, of course, I’m praying for the States.

Join me? To quote a wise exotic man I happen to serve:

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

I don’t exactly know what it means to be a peacemaker (yet), or what the implications are for you and me (probably scary), but there we go.

P.S. Truly, truly awesome? This. Blessed are the peacemakers, indeed. (And if you’re a little confused–Orthodox/Coptic Christmas was this week, not in December.)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    January 10, 2011 3:12 am

    Remember, sweetheart, the Prince of Peace not only directly
    suffered humiliation and violence but often was very passive in
    his response. So the helplessness you feel and the rage you experience
    are only natural.” What can I do?” you ask. “Just be there,” God responds.
    Just like the Prince of Peace Himself, be there and remember you are already a
    peacemaker because you represent the Prince of Peace in that war-torn,
    conflict-ridden land of suffering. God would appreciate that very much and
    you have already done so much for that land that God loves so much.

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