Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Hope in Crisis

Mohan'nad, a nine-year-old boy whose leg was saved
by the doctors and staff at Al Ahli Arab Hospital.

I wish I had something profound to say about the current crisis gripping Gaza for 19 days now. But pointing out that Hamas started the crisis with their rocket fire, misses the abuses that preceeded those attacks. Then you could move back in a line of tit for tat abuses in which a world of hurt has been done among some Palestinians and some Israelis, and even by Palestinian governmental groups and the nation of Israel.

But no matter where you point, or how one tries to bring clarity to the issue, it is difficult to convey all the facts and present all the sides of the multi-faceted problems. Each side has been victimized. Each side has used brutal acts in a cause it considers just.

Hamas looks from here like a terrorist group, rather than a legitimate political party. And from here, recent Israeli actions seem out of proportion and leading to more civilian deaths than called for even giving the Hamas technique of hiding arms in heavily populated areas.

I understand why Israel would want to protect its citizens from rocket attacks. I also understand how the current campaign that has left 1,000 Palestinians dead and another 4,000 wounded while only killing 13 Israelis will complicate peace efforts. New wounds keep being made and old wounds broken open. All this makes the healing hoped for in a two-state solution to seem so distant.

But all of that is the view from afar. I can not imagine the pain and loss this has caused close up. So while we pray for a solution, I will opt not for the profound, but for the hopeful. An Episcopal News Service article tells of the Episcopal Hospital in Gaza—Al Ahli Arab Hospital brings hope to Palestinians amid Gaza crisis. The 3,000 Christians in Gaza are a minority, but they are present and the hospital is vital to Gaza. As the article points out, "The hospital's location in the very heart of Gaza City is now placing added responsibility on its work, which is being carried out so bravely and selflessly by the hospital staff."

Hospital Director Suhaila Tarazi says, "This is a place of love and reconciliation" as Christians and Muslims work together for healing. She adds, "We are all children of Abraham working in mission to help one another."

The bright spot is not merely that there is a hospital tending to wounded in Gaza, but that a Christian hospital is there working toward healing in the midst of immense suffering among a majority Muslim population. I pray that a cease fire will occur and that negotiations can move toward a lasting peace in which true reconciliation is possible. It seems like such a longshot, but then I look to a Christian Hospital in a Muslim battleground and I see it as a glimmer of hope.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



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