What memo? No demo?

Most of the world’s religions keep trying to insert themselves into the necessary narrative of near-global expectation for a world at peace, but their rhetoric keeps overshooting reality and the vanity of the violence they are prepared to unleash on society is convincing evidence that some people have not seen the memo titled “One home, one family, one love”.

No peace among friends and allies

No genuine pacesetter has emerged despite thousands of years of jockeying, storytelling and violent attempts to convince the public.  It is good sign that enemies sign treaties and trade accords, but, more often than not, such innovations are simply signs. Most people alive have not seen a demo of world peace or civic health.

Deadly secrets of the club

It must be a secret affair that keeps peace from breaking out even in Jerusalem.  I suppose that the ancient kingdom had to surmount the interests of 11 tribes in the context of a system dominated by another, a twelfth, tribe.  The New Testament witnesses to a greatly reduced kingdom with two tribes left alive.

Where is the wisdom

Wisdom’s a totally nice girl. Solomon was not kidding, despite his poor choices, when he wrote, “Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square;” (Proverbs 1:20, NASB) and tells us about her relative value with “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!” (Proverbs 16:16a NASB) There is not a lot of room for finding fig leaves to hide the folly of ancient and modern leaders.

“Her ways are pleasant ways And all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:17, NASB)

“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7, NASB)

“Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace.” (Isaiah 59:7-8, NASB)

He who profits illicitly troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live.

Proverbs 15:27, NASB

Who is going to be his brother’s keeper? People who have received and read the memo. Let us do this, because not even an only child can be that insensitive.

The peace saturation and extraordinary intersections of life

Wanna see people jump up and dance? Talk about love given, extreme and unique.  For believers in Christ the path is quite clear.  Loving God will need to have tracks that run between the people in our community or circle, otherwise we could earn the rating of liar.  Love is the bond of maturity but it is not everything, neither is faith or hope, even though the three complete what we can call a stable platform for the Christian life. The spokes of other virtues may also be seen in their various dimensions as seeping into the intersections of our relationships with God and others.  While we are called believers (people exercising faith), we are not called lovers or hopers,  but the Lord Yeshua designated his disciples peacemakers, at once defining our justification, identity, and transformative powers of extraordinary dimensions.

Love is not everything

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:20

Peace beyond human/world capacity and  comprehension

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

John 14:27

The intersection of gospel and peace

Even the people talking peace are beautiful

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52:7

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Romans 12:18

Ephesians 6:15 establishes our journeys, long or short, as peaceful (peacemaking?) ventures, “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”

There’s no point to explaining peace’s value. It is a life experience that words do not convey because the human mind cannot grasp its dimensions or its river-like motion means. We are truly incapable of containing it.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Even the wisdom perspective settles for peace as the flavour of every path.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. 13) For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. 14) She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. 15) Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 16) Her ways are pleasant ways And all her paths are peace. 17)

Proverbs 3:13-17

Peace defines our justification.

Our relationship with God the father is described as a state of peace. Paul understood that Christ came to bring people into a healthy relationship with God the Father.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:1

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

Ephesians 2:14

He, Christ, is our peace, our Shalom, our well-being. Considering that shalom is also a greeting we find ourselves hemmed in by peace’s values even when we say a simple hello.

Pray for Jerusalem

We do it because God invites us.  We can visualize the interest of the King in this piece of real estate and our own residential stake in the future Jerusalem. There is much to peace that people do not want to manage either mentally or physically, and that is why Jerusalem has no peace.  People stuck in their traditions will be the last to become courageous heroes. We pray and use our voices to light up the dark corners where evil hits the airwaves dressed up a strength and goodness.

Traditions dominate Islam and Judaism. There are patriarchal practices, purely human traditions (like everyone else on the planet), tribal heritages, social norms (some of which are the subject of revision by Moses, the Lord, and the prophets) and statutes and judgments picked up over time. The fact that Islam guts the Jewish traditions with Arab views, and Christians will not accept any adjusting of what Moses wrote (as Islam does) afirms that there is no people of the Book because there is no “book”.

Jews do not even bother to try to convert Gentiles using television and radio as Christians and Muslims do. If either of these communities of believers had a rock solid foundation there would never be any amendments or adjustments to belief or practice.

Marketing in East Jerusalem

The Israeli PM is no king.  His political base, the supposed zealots of Yahweh’s ways, has been unable to secure a majority among the religious coalitions, after four elections in two years.  A more illegitimate government head is hard to find on the planet. A PM who fails to accept the Jerusalem for all people indicated by Abraham’s fatherhood, by David’s songs and actions, by the prophets’ messages, by the embedding of the chosen people in Babylon and Persia, by the domination of Judah by Greece and Rome. It is too plain to be missed. Discrimination of the worst kind – genocidal- makes an alien practice of stopping those bent on spilling more innocent blood in Jerusalem. It is already abundantly clear that banning Gentiles from the holy city is an abomibable practice.

Pray for eyes to see why

He who has ears will hear. He who has eyes will see. People absorbed in their own identity to the detriment of all other peoples can hardly be depended on to do justice, love mercy, and walking humbly was ditched every time Yahweh engineered a rescue from hostile hands. Yes, let us pray for Jerusalem to have her peace; she cannot keep forever missing her dates. No, we cannot be silent about the atrocities happening in settlements and curfews and expropriation of land legitimately owed by Palestinians. Christians are not a rubberstamp for bad actors anywhere. If you had to choose between an American cop or an Israeli cop would you not go copless? Pray for Jerusalem, you’ll be living there soon, believer.

The Prayers of the Faithful in the Vatican

as I write this many eyes are trained on the Vatican and its attempts to mediate in the Palestinian Problem.  Theologians are most likely longing to hear the prayers of a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim aimed at finding a solution.  The probability of anyone ever hearing what the three leaders actually say to their God is extremely low.  We can imagine though.  The Vatican Prayers (Vota Vaticana) are an intriguing innovation.  The only avenue of resolution is an appeal to Abraham which would involve each of the leaders to set aside the centuries of jockeying for validity.

Will Pope Francis call on the Father of our Lord Yeshua as Christians are expected to do ?  Will the Israeli President invoke Yahweh of the Sinai Covenant, Abrahamic (land and progeny) covenant, Davidic (monarchy/messianic/dynastic) covenant, or Zionistic (return to Palestine) covenant and promise?  Will the Palestinian President pursue the human rights prospects or the superiority of Islam?  The potholes are huge.

If the prayers are a silent exercise it would seem to defeat the purpose.  These men have declared that they will appeal to a greater power and we have seen what the dependence on a greater power have brought to the Middle East and beyond.  What lies beyond is most likely to be a new centre for the arguments for the future of Jerusalem.  The scariest prospect is the emergence of a new syncretistic expression of the three faiths.  We can expect a announcement that JudaChrislam is born, not as a clearly defined new religion, but as a working model for creating harmony in preparation for the last deception, namely, that mankind can solve spiritual problems without a transparent dependence on God.

We may see Jewish superior claims to Canaan, and an Islamic appeal to variants of the Biblical record of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It is the Pope who will hold the trump card with the approval of the vast majority of earth’s governments.  All he has to do is decry the inhumanity of the Palestinian problem.  The parties will have to work out something, anything, or all will be seen to be window-dressing and a waste of time.

One cannot fail to see that Islam is heading for a new caliphate, and it will have no respect for Judaism or Christianity.  Islam is the revision of all religions and Mohammed gets the last word.  The rise of ISIS (the Islamic State now pushing up across Iraq and Syria) is a threat to peace.  Pope Francis cannot fail to condemn the violence with which Islam rules.  He must insist on Jerusalem being a citadel of human creativity, co-existence, and freedom.  But how?

The report is that Francis has stressed that he is not seeking to jumpstart peace negotiations, but merely bring the two sides together to pray. He said he had arranged for a rabbi and a Muslim cleric to lead the prayers, along with him. (http://metronews.ca/news/world/1049062/vatican-israel-palestinian-peace-prayer-june-8/)

The Vota Vaticana are bound to be a personally edifying experience, and we wait to see whether a political pathway emerges, because prayers and votes have always been in tension.  People, even in nations with a strong and even declared religious governance have been unable to decide whether they want a theocracy or a pluralistic and humanistic government and society.  Will Moses’ disciples give way?  Will Muslims agree to a government that is mixed with non-Islamic tenets?

Sinning and hitting the mark are the only two outcomes.  There is no grey area.  Hitting the mark calls for personal honesty, the integrity of each leader’s claims, and an unabashed trust in what is good.  We pray, we hope, but ultimately we will vote.  The presidents have taken an unprecedented step to pray together and it would seem that the prayer leaders will have to package their prayers more to the liking of their partners than to God. God cannot fail.  Humans do.  God cannot be blamed for centuries of hatred and bloodshed or for the failure of men to work together within their differences.

I say let us pray for Jerusalem’s peace and may God have His way in uniting humanity under a banner of honesty, integrity, and trust.  A prayer that focuses on these three ways of life are bound to be a hit.

As I publish this months have passed since the Roman Pontiff and the Presidents of Israel  and the Palestinian Authority met to pray.  However awkward, comical, or self-effacing their prayers may have been I dare not say that the answer to the prayers of the faithful are denied because we see only more hostility and violence between the parties in Canaan.  If the attempts to bring the Palestinian problem to  UN vote is thought to be an answer to prayer one only need listen to the bombast form the Israeli PM and visiting US legislators.  The direction is nowhere!  It is not enough to pray.  Long prayers have been a cloak for abuse, greed, and self-centered pride.  Short prayers also may be shallow and mere words.  What is needed is courageous action.  Funny how those willing to kill for land are afraid to die for peace in the land..  When I say that the faithful will rise from their knees and proclaim their claims inappropriate and that there is an authority beyond their religious enclaves we will see the answer to the prayers of the faith.  Pipedream?  No.  A prayer of  the hopeful.