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Holy Week: Meditation 1

Palm Sunday. On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus rode down the Mount of Olives on a donkey and seeing Jerusalem, began to weep. "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!" he said. "But now they are hidden from your eyes." (Luke 19:41 ff)

For whom might Jesus weep today?
For Jerusalem? A city that still seeks peace through domination rather than reconciliation, through separation rather than integration, through check-points and guns rather than through community gatherings and songs? A city where religion generally divides rather than unites, where God is used as a trump-card to deny equal human rights to human beings of other religions?

For Washington? A city that hasn't learned - whichever party is in power - to reign in the military-industrial complex about which Eisenhower said in 1960:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

For Tehran, Baghdad, Kabul? For your city, wherever you live?

This week, I'll post prayers for Holy Week 2010.

Compassionate God, as we consider the sufferings of your servant Jesus, in whose face we see your glory and love, our hearts are moved in compassion. As we weep with him for Jerusalem, for Israelis and Palestinians who are alike your beloved children, we also weep for those who suffer in our cities and towns around the world.

We pray for drug dealers and criminals for whom deadly weapons are the tools of their trade. We pray for weapons merchants and aggressive politicians who think deadly weapons can achieve peace. We pray for crooked police officers and city officials, whose corruption fuels violence. We pray for racists and hate-mongers who think their security is enhanced by reducing the security of others. We pray for people plotting terrorism, thinking that terror can cure terror. We pray for all those who live by the gun, the bomb, the knife, the threat, the insult, the epithet. Help them see that these things do not make for peace.

We pray for unemployment, for the complex economic currents that we theorize about but don't fully understand. We know that violence is often a twin-brother of unemployment, and so we pray for business leaders who can seek to maximize employment for many, not only profit for a few.

Turn our cities, we pray, to your way of reconciliation, forgiveness, grace, compassion, and love. Help them see the futility of any path to peace that violates peace in its means. Help them see that there is no way to peace, but that peace itself is the way. Raise up prophets for peace - leaders in every city who pray, preach, and work for peace.

And help each of us as well, to find ways to be instruments of your peace. As participants in your mission to heal the world we pray. Amen.