This past week the United Church called on the Canadian government to “intervene with Israel and de-escalate the spiralling violence and negotiate its end.” The Israel-Palestine conflict is not new news. Some of us are old enough to remember the years following the creation of the Israeli state in the late 1940’s, others grew up with news of on-going conflicts between Israel and its neighbours. Some of our high school history classes included sections dedicated to the conflict. Yet, many of us, when Israel and Palestine hits our newsfeed, feel unprepared to have a conversation about it.
Thinking about “Peace” this second week of Advent, I’ve been reflecting on some of the responses we’ve heard from other communities who’ve had COVID-19 cases. Specifically, the harassment some who’ve tested positive have received. Emergencies tend to bring out our better angels, and our worst selves. “Peace” can be something we work for so zealously that we steamroll over others, or exclude people from the circle of community to preserve “our” peace at all costs.
Little did we know, a month and a half ago, that we were going to set out on a country-wide dramatic retelling of the Easter story. We’ve all had a little while to get into character now, and suddenly it’s our time to step onto the stage and play the part of the huddled and frightened followers, gathering in their locked home, anxious to leave, worried about what the future will hold.