October 2015 annual gathering of
Jewish and Arab congregations in the Galilee
The Autumn rains have come, and
green shoots are beginning to poke through the newly softened earth. Yet
the tensions that fill our little country make the ground feel dry and
scorched with volatile hatred. Knife stabbings and bullets rend bodies and
spirits, creating division and fear.
All the while politicians are trying to convey messages of "peace and
security" as they seek for solutions to the seemingly never-ending
conflict between the Jewish and Arab peoples. But we cannot pin our hopes
on the words of men, "For when they say, 'Peace and safety!'
Then sudden destruction comes upon them ..." (I Thessalonians 5:4).
Normal Israeli citizens also speak of peace. Many desire to coexist in
mutual respect and good neighborliness. Having lived for 42 years in a city
made up of both Jewish and Arab citizens, I have seen both the positive
dynamics of mutual cooperation, and the negative dynamics of mutual
disillusionment. Tension exists whether we like it or not. The sea may at
times have a calm-looking surface, but always there are strong
undercurrents. Our Enemy knows how to "stir the pot," bringing fearful
despair to this land - indeed to every land, for man's sin has
given him authority around the globe.
We all tend to label people by their ethnicity, gender, nation of birth and
outward appearance - often forgetting that we are all created in the image
of God. Only when we internalize this truth; only when man understands that
the Anointed King is Yeshua; only when we invite Him into our heart and are
rescued from our sinful life, then we will see peace. Then the one who
dwells in human hearts will unite His bride. Without theology and without
hypocritical masks, we will be able to have compassion on our fellow man,
our brother and sister. I am looking to Him, to the Master, to bring true
peace between our two peoples. If Yeshua can make peace in His "backyard",
here in the land of Israel, then peace will also blossom forth among all
peoples of the earth.
The first man brought sin. The last will bring peace. With Yeshua I have
peace on the inside, and then through Yeshua I will also have
peace with my brother. That is why God said, "You shall love
your neighbor as yourself." How can I love my fellow man if I do not
yet love myself?
I will be able to love myself when my beloved Yeshua dwells in me, and
through Him I will be able to view those around me with eyes of love. As
true followers of the Messiah let us stop badmouthing and blaming our
brothers. Let us bless and pray for those different from us, even our