Yesterday I read something by Valerie Kaur (an author and civil rights leader) about the war between Israel and Hamas and found her perspective helpful. She focuses on how we must see the humanity of all people. We must always remember our shared humanity. I would add that we must also recall the image of God in every person.

Kaur wrote:

"Our most powerful response to the horror in Israel and Palestine is to refuse to surrender our humanity. You will be told by some: The deaths of Israeli children are unfortunate but inevitable, because Israel’s occupation of Palestine is brutal and wrong. You will be told by others: The deaths of Palestinian children are unfortunate but inevitable, because it is the only way to keep Israel safe from terror, and Hamas brought this on its own people. Both will say: Our aggression is the only response to their aggression, our fear more justified than their fear, our grief more devastating than theirs ever will be. But oh my love, the hierarchy of pain is the old way. The moment we allow our hearts to go numb is the moment we shut down our humanity. I don’t know the solution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, but I do know the starting point: To grieve “their” children as our children. It’s the only way to break the cycle. .... Opening our hearts to grief— others and our own— is how we hold our humanity in a world that would destroy it. It’s how we will begin to survive this."

It's difficult and painful to open our hearts to grief but when we do so - we are never alone. Romans 8:26 assures us that even when we can't articulate our grief and laments over so much suffering in our world, "the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words."

May the Spirit help us live and pray compassionately and work for a kinder, more merciful, and just world.

With gratitude,