Saturday, January 03, 2009

2 Christmas

Readings are here

This week marks the 13th anniversary of my ordination to the Priesthood. I was ordained on January 6, 1996.

It is hard for me to focus on anything but the terrible war ongoing near the very place where the readings for the visitation of the wise ones take place. All those inflicting violence in Gaza seem more allied with Herod who slaughtered the innocents for the preservation of his own power than with either Jesus' family or the Magi.

I read the news from all sides in the conflict and do not know who is more righteous. The Palestinians, confined and barricaded in small bits of their former lands, the Israelis under siege by those who would eliminate them from the region? Perhaps it is the Israelis who even now are protesting the actions of their own government or the Palestinian medical and aid workers desperately trying to save all lives in hospitals with broken windows and few supplies?

Our hearts cry out for wisdom and finding another way. The Magi had the wisdom to look for the Christ child. They discovered that God appears in the most unlikely of places. When they returned home it is said they went "another way." The powers of the world do not seem to have the will nor the wisdom to find answers. Perhaps there are none when both parties want the same land and sovereignty. The strategy that is being pursued has not worked so far and does not seem likely to produce anything but a constant cycle of revenge and violence. I remember times of hope along the way during this conflict. The Oslo accords, the meetings at Camp David (where President Jimmy Carter was able to get each side to see what they needed beyond the cycle of violence), the truces, the leadership that rose up in new ways but was soon cut down often by their own people. It is not often that leaders arise, like Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu who can see a larger picture and encourage all of us to see one another as children of God where all children can find safety and a life of peace.

What is our call in the midst of this and other tragedies around the world? Support those who work for peace, those who call for new ways of relationships. Give to the Anglican hospital that cares for all regardless of nationality and ethnicity. It all seems too small in the face of the overwhelming and seemingly intractable issues but I take heart from the infant lying in the manger and from the wise ones who knew enough to be humble and giving. It is the only thing I know.

Give to Episcopal Relief and Development here to assist the hospital in Gaza.
As the attacks in Gaza continue, Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Our partner, Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, is still providing emergency health care. The staff and volunteers are currently physically safe but will need supplies. We will continue to be in close contact with partners in Gaza in order to monitor the situation and plan the best response.