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.