October 17, 2023
I have not written about the violence in Israel and Gaza since the events of October 7, in part because I have not really known what to say. In my prayer on Sunday, I spoke of hope for a third way, but I will confess to you that my usual hopeful attitude has been waning in this situation. In the past, I’ve been called naively hopeful, but I belong to a group that claims, among other things, that a dead guy walked out of a tomb. I was just watching one of the Star Wars movies, and there is a line from Leia about hope. She says, “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it, you'll never make it through the night.” And then there is Rey, another character, who said, “Rebellions are built on hope.” And though the rebellion she was referencing was one centered in violence, I think about Jesus, whose very life was a rebellion against the violence and destructive power of this world. Instead of the usual way, he chose a way of love and mercy. Of course, that way left him hanging from the Roman tool of execution, but God allowed for Sunday to suggest that Rome’s way would have no final victory. Now please understand that I recognize a nation needing to protect its citizens, and killing anyone, in my opinion, is immoral, but especially unarmed civilians. At the same time, we have witnessed this moment many times in history, and though there might appear to be a short-term defeat of one group, it tends to be nothing more than a momentary pause from which another group in another place emerges with the same old tactics of violence. It’s ok if you call me "naive." It won’t be the first or last time, but I am going to continue to pray for something other than the usual because I naively cling to hope, a hope that God’s power of love can and will break the cycle of violence, creating a space for something never previously imagined.
You gave us free will, Creator and Redeemer of All, and it continues to be one of the great sources of joy but also one of the greatest sources of suffering. No matter what one may think to be the best response in this current crisis, I pray for everyone to keep open the possibility of something other than what appears to be the only way forward. It is through grace that I offer this prayer. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge