As he came near and saw the city, he wept over
it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the
things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42).
Even as Jesus wept over Jerusalem centuries ago, the city today calls us to public lament. Weeping is not the only possible response to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict by U.S. Lutheran Christians. As we seek to sort out the tangled historical roots and ever-changing political dimensions of this strife, certainly there is something upon which we can agree.
I hope we can agree that:
• There must be a place for Palestinian Christians in this land of Jesus’ birth, public ministry, death and resurrection. Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, says the future of Palestinian Christians is at stake. Because of economic hardships and the continuing Israeli occupation, they are emigrating from their homeland.
• Jerusalem must be a city in which Jews, Muslims and Christians can worship, live, work and move freely.
• All forms of violence perpetrated by anyone must be condemned and must stop. We continue to debate the validity of comparisons between the violence of suicide bombers who bring death to innocent people and the actions of occupying Israeli defense forces. But we must not let that debate silence our call for an end to all violence.
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