As I write this, the Invocation for Peace is going on at the Vatican. This is being widely panned by the faithless, the stony hearted, the cynical, the doubters. I wonder as well as to its effectiveness if truth be known yet I hold out hope that God will work in the hearts of those who play an influential role in what goes on in the Middle East and it's that hope that spurs me on to believe that something effectual could come.
Lots of folks writing on this but The Anchoress is who I'm going to for insight:
. . .Vatican officials also confirmed that Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will participate in the prayer service [and] stressed that the prayer service should be seen not as a political gesture, but in fact as a “pause from politics.” Apart from the two heads of state, no Israeli or Palestinian government officials will participate.
The prayer service will also preserve the integrity of the separate religious traditions, noted Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa. . .”We do not pray together, but we stay together to pray,” he said.
Peres and Abbas will arrive at the Vatican separately, and the Pope will speak to each man privately before they join together for the service in the Vatican Gardens. The service will have three sections, with prayers for forgiveness and prayers for peace said in each of the three religious traditions: first Jewish (in Hebrew), then Christian (in English, Italian, and Arabic), and finally Islamic (in Arabic).
This is a serious Invocation for Peace (links to text).
On Twitter, someone responding to Katrina’s post wrote
Still not sure how this will help the “peace process”.
Really? That’s kind of like saying “what? Prayer? How dumb! That has no power!”
Fine for an atheist, but we people of faith understand — or should — that prayer has more power than all of our military and diplomatic efforts combined; that prayer offered in good faith, in simple, trusting faith, has the power “to move mountains,” as Christ Jesus said.
Unless of course, one thinks he was talking through his hat — just speaking pretty for the scribes.
But we don’t really believe that, do we? Even as so many Christians pretend that “meh, he didn’t really mean what he said about marriage,” and divorce again and again, or “meh, he couldn’t possibly have meant what he said about his Flesh and Blood” and therefore dismiss the Eucharist, we don’t really believe that he was pitching blarney on something as basic to the life and practice of faith as the power of prayer, do we?
If so, what was the point of his teachings? Why bother with the whole bloody sacrifice and resurrection and all the subsequent martyrdoms and miracles, if Christ’s discourses were nothing but fillers for a bad spiritual salami, comprised of 90% faith by-products, and prayer had no truck with the Father?
Do we believe that sincere and faith-filled prayer has power? Yes, we do. Do we think that only Christian prayer is acceptable to God? I’m sure some do believe that, especially since Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” and “no one comes to the Father except through me.”
But does that mean the prayers of billions are never heard in heaven? Does it mean the prayers of a little child, not yet capable of fully comprehending (as if any of us can) what it means to “accept Christ”, never reach the Father? That hundreds of millions of people are created each year who go through their whole lives making heartfelt prayers that shift to some sort of spiritual sidebar, where angels perhaps raise them as far as they may go without Christ’s mediation? What if Christ — as Mediator in heaven, and in whom resides all Judgement — decides, “yeah, I’m the mediator; let the prayers come to me, and through me to my Abba.”
Because he actually can do that! Beyond all of our doctrine, and dogma and our dictates, he is the ultimate Decider. If the Creator can decide, through the pleadings of Abraham, that he will spare a nation possessing one faithful man, then the Redeemer can decide whether prayers will ascend to the Father, through himself, no?
Please read Elizabeth's entire piece. And for the sake of peace, pray for it. Yes, even you.