Friday Prayers for Egypt: Gaza Again

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God,

It is not as if this is the first time. Mutual acrimony between Israel and Hamas leads to the exchange of rockets, with deeply disproportional suffering. Now a land invasion is poised to begin.

Egypt has been the historic mediator, but this time – so far – unsuccessfully. Two years ago President Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood has ties with Hamas, brokered a ceasefire and relative lull in hostilities. This time the violence continues despite Egypt’s efforts, and peace is as far away as ever.

Meanwhile Egyptian society is torn. The people of Gaza lack their standard sympathy due to widespread sentiment Hamas has been destabilizing Egypt through the Sinai. But an anti-Zionism is always present, and as the Palestinian casualties mount the Egyptian frustration mounts with it.

God, is there an answer? Must Hamas be destroyed? Must so many people of Gaza die? Must rockets rain down on Israel? Must the Zionists be driven back to where they came from?

God, there must be a better answer. Help Egypt have a share in finding it. Help world sympathy for all not falter. But help Palestinians and Israelis to reconcile. Help justice to be done.

For justice is a sticking point. The terms are not equal. Palestine is under occupation. Stand with all who suffer, give them relief, and help them to honor moral convictions and call out to you.

Feeling triumphant, too many rejoice in the suffering of others. Feeling aggrieved, too many strike out at innocents. Feeling in need of world opinion, too many manufacture propaganda. Feeling in need of domestic support, too many dehumanize their enemy.

But if they call out, God, answer them and give repentance and forgiveness. Answer them and give initiative and creativity. Answer them and give a just political solution. Answer them and give social peace and mutuality.

Help them find the way, God, first through their own hearts, and then through the hearts of their enemy.

This is not the first time these prayers have been necessary; in man’s estimation it is unlikely to be the last. Remove acrimony and exchange love, God, however impossible it may seem. The sins of all are infinitely disproportionate to your grace, so have mercy.

Bring peace, God. Please.

Amen.

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