Dear Members and Friends of UU Manchester,
I join you this week in the grief and heartbreak we are hearing through news stories of the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine. This is a region of the world fraught with long histories of violence, despite the layers of opposing positions, I find myself most drawn to the human element – the enormous sorrow of loss on both sides.
As a faith tradition, we hold peace as precious, and we work toward that, calling for the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. And still, our efforts to engage the complex intertwined relationships and challenges in the region have resulted in more conflict and pain within our movement.
One of my colleagues shared this week, I “have no tangible understanding of what it is like to be of a people whose existence has been threatened for centuries,” and this resonates deeply for me. I do not know how to choose sides in such entangled experiences, or if it is appropriate for an “outsider” like myself to do so.
But we can acknowledge the pain, the grief, and the loss suffered by the humans involved; acknowledging the inherent worth and dignity.
Please join me in the prayer offered by our Unitarian Universalist Association President, Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt:
“I pray for the people of Israel and Palestine. I pray for leaders around the globe who must respond to this latest flare of violence and the untenable ethical considerations that abound. I pray for Muslim and Jewish UUs who experience the impact of this long strife acutely. I pray that those of us less likely to know the trauma of unending brutality and harm will not turn away from generational loss, from the devastating realities and their root causes, or from the relentless tragedy of war and occupation. Be gentle with yourselves when you need to be, but do not turn away unless you must. We are one global family living tenuously on the same human-impacted Earth. Let us center ourselves in justice as we call for peace.”