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Statement on Israel-Palestine Conflict

October 11, 2023

This past weekend, many of us were shocked and horrified to hear about the unexpected attack that happened in southern Israel. The militant terrorist group known as Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli communities near the Gaza strip. They killed hundreds of residents and took dozens of hostages. Soon after, the Israeli military responded with defensive actions inside Israel and in Gaza, which resulted in more loss of life.

Even as the numbers of those injured and killed continues to climb, we recognize that this weekend’s atrocities are just the latest examples of hate and injustice that have existed in this region for years.

In line with the decisions of Synod on Just War and the Christian calling to peacemaking, I would like to urge all Christian Reformed people to join me in praying for peace in Gaza, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. Pray that those in positions of power will exercise restraint, especially for the sake of civilians caught up in this cycle of violence. There are roughly 2 million Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza strip right now, unable to escape the violence. Pray also that governments will advocate and take actions towards peace and justice.

For those who wish to learn more about the situation and actions that North Americans can take, I urge you to read this statement from Churches for Middle East Peace, of whom the CRCNA is a participating member.

Your partner in peace,
Rev. Dr. Zachary King, General Secretary

Prayer (Based on Psalm 85)

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servantsbut let them not turn to folly.
God of peace, God who loves us and who loves the people of Israel and Palestine, God who loves the poor and the powerful alike, we will listen to you. We pray, O God, that nations will not turn to folly. We pray, for wisdom, for patience, for temperance and justice.

Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; justice and peace kiss each other.
God, we are in shock and horror as we consider the violence that has been happening in this world. We long for your glory — which looks like grace, flourishing, and peace — to dwell in this world that you created. Bring your salvation near to us, O Lord.

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and justice looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.
God, you are the author of peace, the creator of justice. We pray that you might bless the work of our hands, as we work for the peace that we so long for. We pray for an end to bombings, blockades, and retaliation. We pray for an end to hostage taking and shootings. We pray for an end of vengeance, of terror, and of threats.

Justice goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.
Empower us, through your spirit, that our homes, our nations, and countries around the world might become havens of peace. By your grace, help us to see every human being as a child of God. Bring healing to those who have experienced violence and trauma. Give protection to those who serve in the military. Give courage to those who are the first responders when a bomb strikes. Give wisdom to those who lead nations, that they will strive to work harder for peace than they do for war.

Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.