Being from Belfast, I have become accustomed to recognising that the sound of a low flying helicopter only means one thing … trouble. Turns out that it means the same here in Jerusalem.
Whilst tourists were taking selfies and being overpowered by incense at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I was watching this strange sign in the sky and like one of the 3 Kings, knew exactly what it meant and headed back to my accommodation. Turns out my Belfast spidey senses are working well. I don’t feel at all bad at not informing my fellow pilgrims, the incense would get them before Armageddon does.
I came across this sign at the Garden Tomb last week and it seems even more appropriate today. People here are struggling to deal with the senseless murders of 4 teenagers (3 Israeli and 1 Palestinian) The tension and anger is not hidden too deeply, if at all.
If you are the praying type, please pray for wisdom and that peace will trump fear. Pray for the families of the boys. Also whilst your on your knees say a prayer for your own town/city. If it’s anything like Belfast, ignoring the problems will not change anything. Anyone who has ever had toothache knows this all too well.
The church I attended last Sunday prayed a lot about the situation in Iraq and mentioned nothing about the situation on their own doorstep. It felt uncomfortably familiar.
There are lots of reasons why we don’t collectively and individually pray for our hometowns. Fear of getting it wrong, causing offense, making someone uncomfortable. It’s hard trying to engage people who have long since disengaged as a way of coping and people with NIMBY-esque attitudes – “it’s not a problem that impacts my life.” Or people who are so consumed with their own wee world that they have no space for what is going around them -like me!
What if we prayed instead of ignored? What if we trusted God with our stuff and prayed about someone else’s instead? What if we believed this
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city … Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29 v 7