“For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith… For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” Romans 4:13, 16-17
“As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst, so teach us, gracious Lord, to die to self, and chiefly live by thy most holy word.”
“Lord Who throughout These Forty Days” vs. 3, by Claudia F. Hernaman
Paul reminds some of the first members of the church, the Jewish-Gentile congregations in Rome, that faith is the basis of who is in and who is out of the community. And why is faith the basis? So that God’s promises given in the covenant will always be received as a gift and not a reward, and that being part of the covenant will always be available to everyone who shares in the faith. In reflecting on this passage I thought about how in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, peace is often bandied about as a reward for power (for Israelis) or for submission (for Palestinians.) If Palestinians or the Palestinian Authority would do, or not do, something then peace would be achieved. If Israelis or the Israeli government would do, or not do, something then peace would be achieved.
What if being deserving of peace is not based on behavior, but based on that fact that Palestinians and Israelis are human, and that by being human all are Children of God. Living in peace is not a privilege, though in this world it is often treated as such. Living in peace is how God calls us to be. It is also what God calls us to do so that not only may we live in peace but that all people may live this way. Peace is not a limited commodity! Regardless of what some Israeli or Palestinians, or even Americans, may or may not do, our working or advocating for peace should not be because we think that some people deserve it, or don’t deserve it. We should work for peace because all people deserve it. Peace is a gift from God intended to be shared by all people.
God, may I live in your peace. May I live a life without violence, but if this may not be so may I live in hope that it could be.
-Rev. Doris Warrell, Former Mission Intern in Palestine and Israel