In the stunned faces and writhing bodies of little children besieged by bombs and missiles we hear the ancient cry of the God whose own body is constantly torn apart by us all—God’s very own children. Whether we are Americans, Israelis, or Palestinians, our own tortured histories have produced this terror. We have all claimed lands and houses that our not our own, all in the name of God or history, or ancestry. The higher our reasons, the more vicious our justifications, the more violent our actions. The Bible may be a testimony to God’s grace but it is just as visibly a witness to our violence and aggression.
And so we weep.
And in this weeping, we continue to seek to crawl, to inch, toward a table where we might all eat together, where we might exercise hospitality to strangers, where we might reconcile our differences for the sake of the One who created us all. It’s a practice that stretches from Abraham’s welcome to the divine strangers at Mamre (Genesis 18) to Jesus’s table fellowship with his followers in Jerusalem. It is one we seek to live into every month here in our own little town with our Roundtable Gathering. And so I share again with you the Call and the Remembrance from our last gathering, as we pray for the Peace—the deep just Shalom— of Jerusalem. That God’s body—and ours—might be healed.
Call to the Table
Out of your desperate search to claim your land
I lead you to the land of my abundance.
Away from poisoned wells of greed
I draw you to the water of my love.
From ancient olive trees uprooted
I bring green branches of my peace.
Out of a dying Jordan River
I create anew the ocean of my faithfulness.
In a Jerusalem of national idolatries
I raise a table for humanity to gather for a feast.
We come to your table.
Your table of peace.
ALL. Amen. Amin, Ameyn.
In the garden of our innocence you gave us your companionship.
In our anxious drive for domination we cut up your land to house our fear.
Farmers and herdsmen fell upon each other’s throats.
Our ceremonies of devotion became the bloody pretense for a holocaust,
Your word of justice sank in silence underneath the stones of retribution.
Out of the suffering body of your precious world you birthed a new creation.
Out of the hanging tree, now full with blossom, you brought forth a fruit to feed the world.
Out of a dying branch you built a table open to us all.
Amen. Amin. Ameyn.