Bishop Ward joins in prayer for the people of Gaza and Israel in this week’s connections
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ. In the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 14, he tells the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side. As they depart in the boat, Jesus withdraws up onto the mountain to pray. He’s there until evening, and by that time a great storm has come up on the sea of Galilee. The boat is lashed by the waves, the wind is against the disciples. They are terrified. Jesus appears to them walking on the sea and says, “Do not be afraid.”
Whenever we approach the scripture in these days, it is very good for us to pause and pray for the land and the context of the stories that we love. In Israel and Palestine, day by day, the violence breaks our hearts. Let us pray without ceasing for the children of Gaza, for the people of Gaza, for the nation of Israel, for those who are engaged in conflict; the soldiers, the fighters. Let us pray for those who around the world who are engaged through the United Nations and our own government in making decisions. Let us pray for peace in this place where peace seems so elusive. Let us also learn more about this land, not only in its ancient context, but in the present time. Let us learn about the history of the Palestinians and the Israelis. Let us learn so that we may appreciate the complexities which are at work. As we pray without ceasing for the land of the Bible, we give thanks to God, the God of providence and love, who sent Jesus Christ in our midst, to engage every storm, every time of trouble. Jesus Christ still says to us, “Fear not,” and we sense his presence in our present. In this present moment, we pray, that Jesus, who exerted power over a great storm long ago, will lead us to be faithful in our prayers. May peace come in our time, we pray.