Sunday night a small group of us from Connections joined with the Jewish community at Temple Solel in Hollywood to pray for peace. The leadership and staff of the temple put this rally together in just 72 hours and it was the perfect way to counter the terrorism happening in Israel. And isn’t that what being a child of the Most High is all about? Aren’t the citizens of the Kingdom called to behave differently?
This is not to say that we should be doormats. I thank God that the IDF and police force in Israel is well trained and practices great self control. They react quickly to guard and protect, especially as one is threatening the civilians. I was in Jerusalem when one such take down happened right in front of me. They didn’t use unnecessary violence, but quickly put a stop to the threat by arresting the perpetrator.
This is contrary to the terrorists, who attack innocent civilians going about their daily routine. While in Israel, I saw a video of a terrorist who ran over a rabbi, then got out of the car and started hacking him to death with an ax. The terrorist was shot, but wouldn’t stay down. He kept getting up – not to escape – but to continue hacking away.
While in Israel, I also saw and heard protesters throwing rocks and homemade bombs, screaming and disrupting the peace of a beautiful city. And what is the reaction of the majority of the populace of Jewish Israeli citizens? Prayer, charity, and good deeds.
So when I had opportunity to join the Jewish community for a time of prayer and praise, I knew I had to go even though I was looking forward to spending some quiet time with my granddaughter. You see, God kept pressing me that it was important that my actions follow my words, that I am an example to my granddaughter. I say I stand with Israel, but do my actions show that? Could I not take a couple of hours out of my week and literally stand with Jacob’s children, letting them know they are not alone?
The rally was an amazing experience for me personally. It was an awesome reminder that all the Jewish people are family. They don’t just think maybe they might be, but they really are descendants of Jacob. They really are related. And they know it. Rabbi Salkin spoke of this when he said that what happens to the Jew in Israel, effects the Jew in Hollywood; what happens to one of them, happens to all of them.
As I sat in the synagogue, looking at the stain glass windows depicting some of the same scenes I grew up seeing in the Catholic and Episcopal churches, I was reminded that our faith – the Christian faith – is really the Jewish faith. They believe with perfect faith that Messiah is coming, and though he tarry, they wait for him. They believe there is one God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. They call him Father.
I’d like to share one of the prayers we prayed – the prayer of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav:
Source of Peace, Divine Ruler, to who peace belongs. Master of Peace, Creator of all things:
May it be your will to put an end to war and bloodshed on earth, and to spread a great and wonderful peace over the whole world, “so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
Help us and save us all, and let us cling tightly to the virtue of peace. Let there be a truly great peace between every person and their fellow, and between husband and wife, and let there be no discord between any people even in their hearts.
And may it be that all people love peace and pursue peace, always in truth and with wholeheartedness, without holding on to any disputes ever again which would divide us against each other.
Let us never shame any person on earth, great or small. May it be granted unto us to fulfill Your commandments to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Leviticus 19:18) with all our hearts and souls and bodies and possessions.
“And let it come to pass in our time as it is written, “And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid. I will drive the wild beasts from the land, and neither shall the sword go through your land.” (Leviticus 26:6)
“God who is peace, bless us with peace!”