It's strange how ideas and beliefs can slip in almost unnoticed.
An excerpt from the prayers at a Sunday morning church service:
We especially today pray for the Middle East, for the people of Israel and the Gaza Strip that a permanent ceasefire may be accomplished, that the people of Gaza will accept the existence of Israel as the rest of the Arab world has, so that Hamas will stop firing rockets into Israel forcing the Israelis to retaliate with their much stronger military. We pray to you, Lord, for all the innocent people killed or wounded on both sides and for the great despair of all people everywhere in refugee camps.At communion I am told:
The blood of Christ shed for you.And I wonder, was it also shed for the Palestinians?
At the end of the service we hear:
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.And I wonder, what kind of peace and at what cost?
I see two things here. First, the pray-er is expressing their political views in the prayer from the front. This isn't a prayer meeting where everyone to join in and pray whatever; these are the official prayers and thus represent the church to those listening. Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with their political views, this is not the place or time for this.
Secondly, the concept of Hamas' violence forcing Israel to retaliate just seems to be against the way of Jesus, who said:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. (Matthew 5:38-40 NIV)Now, without getting into major discussion of war, peace and non-violence, let's consider:
- Jesus tells his people the Jews (small group without power) who were being oppressed by the Romans (large group with all the power) to "turn the other cheek".
- The prayer says that Israel (dominant stronger military force) should not "turn the other cheek" but that it has no choice other than retaliating against Hamas (smaller terrorist group).
Related: From Anne Frank to Gaza