, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, given at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut on October 9.
Let me also offer to you, as a Christian brother, some broader pastoral reflections on the political situation revolving around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict, after all, is the over-arching reality impacting political life, and shaping the context in which the churches of the Middle East are called to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When Dr. Riad Jarjour came and spoke to the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America in 2002, he concluded his address with these words: "We live in complex and difficult times when, within seconds, the business of any one region becomes the business of the whole world….The wolf packs gather everywhere. We must move as wisely as serpents and as innocently as doves, and the Spirit will give us the gift of utterance when we most need it."
It is our prayer that the Spirit my give you freshly that gift of utterance, for it is clear that words can seem cheap, shallow, and almost futile. We face together, it seems to me, a situation today of utter political hopelessness. It grows by the headlines of each day, even in the days since our delegation has arrived in your lands. Any hope of a political process is being demolished by a culture of death. This, it seems, is what now reigns--only the dark forces that dehumanize life, that are captivated by vengeance, that consistently violate any national or humanitarian boundaries of restraint--including, in these past 48 hours the violation of international borders.