Tag Archives: peace

Gaza

Following the commemorations of one hundred years since the outbreak of a ‘war to end all wars’, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is urging recognition of the fact the world is not at peace and far too many people today are seeking to survive bombs, bullets, tear gas, and terror from conflict and war. This is sharply focussed in the conflict that exists in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Moderator, the Rt Rev John Chalmers, is asking “How can the people of Gaza become good neighbours unless they are released from the oppression under which they exist?”  The Moderator’s full statement on behalf of Church of Scotland reads:  “In the face of the particular tragedy of Gaza, and the disturbing loss of so many civilian lives, the Church of Scotland actively engages with its local contacts in the region and seeks to support and amplify their efforts in seeking a just and lasting peace for all the people.  The Church of Scotland remains committed, through prayer and action, to a just and sustained peace in Israel and Palestine, and continues to uphold all people there in prayer. The Church joins with others in welcoming any genuine cease-fire in Gaza, by Israel or its opposing combatants, and we urge that it continues. Only an end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza and the firing of missiles into Israel from Gaza will lead to conditions from which a just resolution may come.  However, this is only the first step towards tackling the humanitarian disaster for the people of Gaza. With others, especially the Churches agency Christian Aid, we recognise without an end to the Israeli Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, which has been in place since 1967, there can be no full and lasting peace for either Palestine or Israel. The Occupation must end.  The Church of Scotland is calling for these immediate actions:  The Church calls for the blockade of Gaza by Israel to end and for the normal movement of people and goods in and out of the territory to resume. Initial priority should be given to much needed relief measures.  The Church calls for sustained peace negotiations which should include all local parties and for the international community to work as honest brokers. These negotiations should seek a secure country for Israelis and a viable homeland for the Palestinian people.  Gaza is smaller than the island of Arran, yet its population is larger than that of Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley. On one interpretation it is the world’s largest prison camp. There is no place for people to hide.  The scandal of suffering in Gaza will only be alleviated through the full, committed and fair-minded engagement of the international community, especially the United States of America, along with the other members of the Middle East Quartet (the UN, the EU and Russia) working with all the local and regional parties to start peace-building measures. We look to our own UK Government to play a full and committed part in this.”

The Moderator hopes that even at this stage something hopeful can arise from the despair of this current conflict.  Things you can do:  The churches’ agency in international relief and development is Christian Aid and we can support its Gaza appeal:  Christian Aid Gaza appeal  The World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel takes place annually in September. Join in with your church and highlight the justice issues in your church and community. World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel  On the 24th of every month, the Action of Churches Together (ACT) Palestine has called the world to pray with the Christians in Palestine and Israel, for all in these lands, Either join and organised one, or create an opportunity in your church: Pray for Peace in the Middle East   The Church of Scotland’s contacts in the region include the Lutheran Church, the Episcopal Church, YMCA, YWCA, Near East Council of Churches, Sabeel Theology Centre, Lutheran World Federation, Rabbis for Human Rights, B’t selem, and others.

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Pope pleas for peace. (via Huff Post)

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Tuesday (Feb. 25) lashed out at public indifference to the many wars raging around the globe, with especially harsh words for arms makers who he said profit from the violence and suffering.

“Think of the starving children in the refugee camps. Just think of them: this is fruit of war!” Francis said at the daily Mass he celebrates in the chapel of the Vatican guesthouse where he lives.

“And if you want,” he continued, “think of the great dining halls, of the parties thrown by the bosses of the weapons industry that makes the arms that wind up (in those camps). A sick child, starving, in a refugee camp — and the great parties, the fine life for those who manufacture weapons.”

But Francis did not spare the public, either.

“Every day, in the newspapers, we find wars,” he said, “and the deaths seem to be part of a normal day’s tally. We are accustomed to reading these things.” It seems, he added, “as though the spirit of war has taken control of us.”

It’s not the first time Francis has tried to bring home routine suffering that often goes unnoticed. Writing in his first “apostolic exhortation” in November, Francis asked: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

On Tuesday, Francis noted the upcoming 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and recalled the enormous toll that conflict exacted, claiming millions of lives by the time it ended in November 1918.

“Everyone then was horrified,” Francis said. “But today it is the same! Yet rather than one great war, we have small wars everywhere. … This great war is happening everywhere on a smaller scale, a bit under the radar, and we are not shocked! So many die for a piece of land, for some ambition, out of hatred, or racial animus.”

The pope was speaking on the readings at Mass, on Tuesday taken from the New Testament letter of James, in which the author decries the wars and violence within communities and traces them to the sinful passions of those who love the world and not God.

Similarly, Francis also lamented that “this spirit of war, which distances us from God, is not just something distant from ourselves” but is “also in our homes.”

“The wars in families, the wars in communities, the wars everywhere,” he said. “Who among us has cried when they read the newspaper, when they see these images on the television? So many dead.”

During his first year as pope, Francis has sought to establish the church as a rallying point for peace and social justice, consciously channeling a key aspect of the spiritual legacy of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. In the past week, he made several appeals for peace in Ukraine, Nigeria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

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A Prayer {from the New Zealand book of prayer [cc]}

Eternal Spirit, Earthmaker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, Source of all that shall be. Father and Mother of us all. Loving God, in whom is heaven;

May the hallowing of your name echo through the Universe! May the way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world! May your heavenly will be done by all created beings! May your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and may it come on earth.

With the bread that we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts that we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love. Now and forever, now and forevermore.

Amen.

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Muslims and Christians

  • HUFFPOST

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THE BLOG

Egyptian Muslims Forget Muhammad’s Letter to Christian Monks at Mt. Sinai

Craig ConsidineAug 20, 2013
 

One issue often discussed on news sites and blogs over the last several days is the many attacks on Egypt’s Christian communities. Several outlets have reported that violence by Mohammad Morsi supporters has left dozens of Christian churches, Coptic-owned businesses and properties burnt. Fears of widespread sectarian strife seem to be growing among Egypt’s Christian minority.

The violence against Egypt’s Christians reminds me of the important symbolism of Muhammad’s letter to Christian monks at St. Catherine’s, Mount Sinai (Egypt) in 628 AD.

In his letter, Muhammad championed universal peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims. Not only did he outline how Christians are to be treated by Muslims, but Muhammad also touched upon human rights, including freedom of conscious, freedom of worship, and the right to protection in war.

Here is an English translation of Muhammad’s letter:

 

“This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

 

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens, and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey his prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.

The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the last day (end of the world).”

 

The attacks by some Egyptian Muslims on their fellow Egyptian Christian citizens is deplorable for the simple fact that the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, would have condemned any violence towards Christians and people of non-Muslim faiths.

One has to wonder if the Egyptian Muslims involved in these attacks can even call themselves “Muslims” with any sense of integrity or legitimacy.

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Baha’i

Baha'i

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June 9, 2013 · 08:01

Questions

Some questions…..

Why do doctors and lawyers call what they do practice?

Why is abbreviation such a long word?

Why is it that when you’re driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on your radio?

Why is a boxing ring square?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

How did a fool and his money get together in the first place?

There are indeed a lot of things in this life that we just really don’t understand.

But let me take it to a deeper and more disturbing level. For example, we don’t really understand disease.  Why is a youngster perfectly healthy for 13 years of his life… and then suddenly just happens to be in a place where he suddenly encounters some germ or bacteria that invades his body and destroys it? This happens in meningitis cases.

And we don’t understand accidents.  They are so random and indiscriminate. You start out a day that is like any other day… and then something happens in a matter of seconds… and life is forever different.  You can never go back beyond that accident.

On and on we could go with our list… of things we don’t really understand.

Why is there so much pain in our world? Why do good people suffer? Why do we hurt one another? Why can’t people get along? And why do some of the best prayers seem to go unanswered?

Now, all of these difficult questions prompt us to raise yet another crucial question: What can we count on from God?  When we face the troubles of the world, the heartaches of life, the tough challenges of this existence… what can we count on from God?

Christ tells a parable – a rather strange parable. It involves two people: an unjust arrogant judge and a humble but persistent woman.  The judge ignores her at first, but finally grants her justice because she is so persistent.  She won’t give up and she won’t go away… so eventually he gives in and comes through for her.

Now that’s the parable. Jesus then makes his point and he frames it in the form of a question.

He says, if an unjust judge gives this woman justice how much more will God bring about justice for his chosen ones?

A loving God hears our struggles, hears our cries of help and then responds to them.

WE CAN COUNT ON GOD TO BE WITH US WHEN WE ARE HURTING.

A tragedy left the man homeless, widowed and fatherless. Fire had swept through his house, and all was lost. It took some time for the full weigh of the loss to descend, and when it did, he was nearly crushed.

Like Job in the O.T. he would not be comforted…When the gift of shock was lifted, anger, resentment filled every waking thought.

God had not been fair to him God had not protected his family. He had not come to him with a special visitation to explain the “why” and the “what next”.The greatest temptation was to add to his losses by forfeiting his faith.

He felt justified. No one would fault him. Some might even support him. He prayed angrily now, daring god to hurt him further, challenging him if you like.

He prayed angrily, but he prayed, and God could handle it….The anguish continued to mount until one afternoon he uttered a cry so forcefully, it could only be described as a scream. No word was spoken, just a loud angry scream against the forces of heaven and hell, as if to say, “I’ve hurt all I can, and I’ve paid my dues for love…. Help me.”….

The silence that followed was quieter than silence. A peace was evident for the first time in months.

He believed, at last, that God was caring for those he lost. That God was caring for Him. that God could handle his honest anger, his honest emotions

And God can handle all our pent up emotions, feelings, denials. He is with us in our hurt and our pain.

And, although our questions may not be answered, we can come to know him as the one who always listens, always cares.

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Peace

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.”

 

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A Poem of Belief

  • These words were written by a Jewish prisoner on a wall in a Nazi Concentration Camp in Cologne during World War II

    A Poem About Belief By a Jewish Prisoner in a Nazi Concentration Camp

     

    A Poem About Belief By a Jewish Prisoner in a Nazi Concentration Camp

    “I believe in the sun
    even when it is not shining
    And I believe in love,
    even when there’s no one there.
    And I believe in God,
    even when he is silent.

    I believe through any trial,
    there is always a way
    But sometimes in this suffering
    and hopeless despair
    My heart cries for shelter,
    to know someone’s there
    But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
    my child, I’ll give you strength,
    I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.

    I believe in the sun
    even when it is not shining
    And I believe in love
    even when there’s no one there
    But I believe in God
    even when he is silent
    I believe through any trial
    there is always a way.

    May there someday be sunshine
    May there someday be happiness
    May there someday be love
    May there someday be peace….”

    thank you, Jackie Wright, for writing these inspirational words in the card you gave me

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Peace and Religious Harmony

Peace and religious harmony come about through taking action, not necessarily through making prayers and good wishes. In order to carry action out, enthusiasm is very important, and enthusiasm comes from being clear about our goal and the possibility of our fulfilling it. Here, we need educate young people about our ultimate goal, peace in the world, and how to fulfil it by cultivating inner peace within themselves.

 

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