Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Resolve in the Middle East

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Resolve in the Middle East

Article excerpt

A Christian Science perspective.

If you drive across the Sinai Desert on a bus, you will find the colorful fabric of the Bedouin people's clothes and tents waving in the wind of the sand dunes. The lush oases of the Israeli kibbutz will speak of how generations have transformed that arid region into productive farmland. You will see the city of Jerusalem is teeming with Baha'is, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and Christians on pilgrimage to that city so holy to so many different religions. Riding another bus from the Damascus Gate of the city to Bethlehem, you will experience the tenderness of parents feeding yogurt to their children, and the children peaceful and secure in their parents' arms.

But the stark reality of the seething undercurrent of the Middle East was brought home to me years ago when walking on the beaches of Tel Aviv. Every 10 minutes military jets pierced the sound of the waves, as they flew reconnaissance at heights so low you could see the pilot.

How can our prayers continue to reinforce the current efforts to bring a workable peace to the region?

One way is to take a mental stand that violence cannot displace humanity's authority over violence. Waiting for the cycle of violence to stop does little to exercise our God-given authority to say no to violence.

The example of South Africa's resolve to move forward is valuable. When Nelson Mandela got out of prison, there was more violence in the country than ever before. Yet it did not stop the patient, shared vision of blacks and whites that there could be, and must be, an even greater commitment to correct the ignorance and injustices of the past. It took courage to stay mentally independent of the repetitive thought patterns that had entrapped the country.

To break repetitive thought patterns with new ideas and fresh resolve finds fortification in these verses from the book of Lamentations in the Bible: "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. …

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