Blessed are those who, with a look or a touch, still the fear that leads to hate.
A little background. In a little piece of the world there is a very big conflict. The Israelis and the Palestinians are (seemingly) fighting over a small spot of land, but it’s so much more. Monday evening, in the international waters off the coast of Gaza, an effort was made by some in the international community to change a policy of the Israeli government. It went badly.
It seems impossible to take religion and politics out of a politically charged situation with religious roots; but I wonder, can we strip it all away and look at this from a peaceful perspective?
I am endowed with reason and conscience and will act towards others in a spirit of loving kindness. I do not have the right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of the rights and freedoms of others.
- Adapted from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Before you call me Pollyanna, and tell me of the impossibility of peaceful resolution, let me say; I felt the same way—once. In 2004, I decided to make a career change from sales and marketing. I sold my business in order to “do-good”. I sent my resume out to many different non-profits and received an enthusiastic reply from , The American Israel Public Affairs Committee. This group is one of the most powerful advocacy groups in Washington and it influences lawmakers to support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. I knew nothing about foreign policy, nothing about U.S. legislation and less about Israel. But, Aipac’s regional director knew I could be taught. For two years I was immersed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I traveled to Israel and Washington. I met with world leaders, military strategists and policy wonks. I learned from the very same teachers who briefed Members of Congress on Israel’s issues.
It was a great time for a pacifist to be a pro-Israel activist—at first. Long-time Palestinian leader Yaseer Arafat had just died and there was hope for a new era of peace. Ariel Sharon was the Prime Minister of Israel at the time and he was a strong, bold leader. He withdrew Israeli troops from occupied Gaza. Donations and support from all over the world poured into the small parcel of land, and the Palestinian people were ready for a new beginning. That didn’t happen. Soon after, a government came to power with terrorist ties and a declaration of destruction to the State of Israel. Violence followed.
I left Aipac, determined to work for a cause where I could make a difference. I chose , a very effective faith-based Christian advocacy group whose mission is to end hunger. I figured after getting nowhere with world peace, ending world hunger would be a snap! Uh,…that didn’t go as planned either. I resigned myself to accept that big change simply couldn’t happen.
And then Barack Obama became President of the United States. I was inspired all over again. I was reminded of the civil rights movement, the independence of India, equal rights for women and gays, and it became clear; big change does happen and prayer could be the catalyst. A woman alone can achieve inner peace through prayer. Many women united in prayer can bring peace to the world.
Blessed are those who
speak the words that calm us,
quiet us, and bring us back to you.
Blessed are those who,
with a look or a touch,
still the fear that leads to hate.
Oh, help me to be
one of your peacemakers.
Where there is strife,
Help me bring calm.
Where there is pain,
Help me bring healing.
As I go through my day
and make the world a better place,
help me reflect Your light, Your love,
and Your ever-present wisdom.
- Sue Bradford Edwards