If you are anything like me, you are experiencing a deep unsettledness due to the state of the world right now.
The war in Ukraine has been waging for over a year and a half. There is no end in sight. Then just weeks ago, brutality seemed to hit a new low as Hamas fighters slaughtered Israelis and hauled off hostages to an unimaginable fate. Now the Israeli army is poised to invade Gaza- one of the most densely populated places in the world. The news continues to show us death and devastation.
As Christians deeply concerned about world events, how can we pray? How can we find peace? How can we hope?
I’m reminded of the hymn, God of Grace and God of Glory written by Pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick, for the dedication of Riverside Church in New York City in 1930. The world at that time was still recovering from the first world war and industrial cities in the United States were facing gross inequalities. Here is the third verse of his hymn:
Heal your children’s warring madness,
bend our pride to your control;
shame our wanton selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal.
It is hard to be a person of peace in a world at war. And yet, it is a world at war that most desperately needs people of peace.
May we find the strength to resist easy answers or simplistic solutions. May we hold the complexity of the world in loving hands. May we hold as true that the terror killings of Israelis AND that the death of Palestinian civilians are both horrific and evil. May we remain engaged in seeing the world in all of its pain and yet know that we can take news breaks from time to time for our well-being.
May we lift our voices in prayer to ask that God would indeed ‘heal our warring madness, lest we miss God’s kingdom goal.’