Friday, October 13, 2023

Painful thoughts on the attacks on the Jewish state

October 13, 2023

I was aware of the physical frailties of old age—my parents lived to 88 and 89, my four grandparents late 80s and early 90s, and my great grandparents late 80s. I knew them all. I also knew my husband’s parents, grandmother and his step-grandparents all living to mid-80s and early 90s. Today is my brother-in-law’s 100th birthday. What I didn’t expect was this feeling of helplessness.

I didn’t expect to feel the promises of God’s mercy and caring to ring so hollow. After all, most of these dear ones of my past had lived through the Panic of 1893, the Spanish American War, WWI, The Spanish flu epidemic, the Great Depression, the scourge of polio, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. I even called my Dad on 9/11 for some comfort. Maybe they felt as helpless as I do now, and never mentioned it?

Today I was reading Psalm 25 in my morning devotions. I thought about those beautiful words such as TRUST, TRUTH, SALVATION, MERCY, LOVE, GOODNESS, UPRIGHTNESS, FAITHFULNESS, PARDON, FRIENDSHIP, COVENANT and FORGIVENESS. I couldn’t help but think back to Saturday’s assault on civilians in Israel. Where was God? Where were our elected politicians, our counterintelligence, our high-tech smarties who can shut down any opinion about Covid or pronouns they don’t like, but couldn’t find “chatter” of killers of Jews? It was Nazis in the ghettos of the 1940s.

What happened to the “rules of war” and the lessons of WWII we heard about in high school and college?

Also, I can't help but think of the silence of our churches—not just about the Israeli/ HAMAS/ Hezbollah/ Iran situation, but my own church's failure to speak out or call a prayer meeting on ANY issue—social, economic or political—from Covid to abortion to local bond issues, to the border crisis to transgenderism. I suppose it's understandable with 35,000 “protestant” and “Bible only” groups many of whom have split on secular issues, including slavery and feminism. It is still an eerie silence for anyone who reads the paper or watches the evening news. It’s possible in the 1930s we didn’t know about the Soviets starving the Kulaks or the Nazis invading Poland and killing Jews until it was too late. Today we have HAMAS uploading their crimes in real time on the internet for all to see. Today we know the U.S. returned $6 billion to Iran who has sworn death to Israel. We've bought their oil for untold billions. We funded this!

There’s an ugly dividing waste land that runs through our wealthy, educated metropolitan congregations. The same Christians who support abortion and “a woman’s right to choose,” sanctuary cities, open borders, climate change laws that hurt the poorest economies, demonization of half of America’s voters and the sexual mutilation of children in the LGBTQ spectrum, also have been willing to excuse over the years Palestinians and deny that the Islamic hatred and beliefs about Israel’s existence is a real threat to Jews and the U.S. It’s the elephant in the sanctuary. Right here in Columbus (specifically 2021, 2014 and this week) there were large demonstrations in support of Palestine and against Israel. Was anything said—prayer—discussion? Is there a direct line from our silence to beheading babies and shooting the elderly at bus stops?

If our churches can’t even object to the Governor or Board of Health about violations of our religious rights in 2020 and 2021 during the lockdowns, how can I even suggest we have the moral authority and strength to say anything about the Russia Ukraine war, or the tribal warfare in South Sudan among Christians, or the Ethiopian crisis, or the invasion by millions at our Southern border, or HAMAS attacking civilians?

Well, I do suggest it. Can I sit through one more Bible study or sermon or hymn and not be sickened by our silence, and my own feeling of weakness while we dither about hiring women pastors (an issue from the 1970s) or how many millions we can raise to keep our buildings up to date?

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