10.12.23 Lead Pastor Reflection
10.12.23 Lead Pastor Reflection


“He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, Jesus wept over it and said, “If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace.” –Luke 19:41–42

October 12, 2023

Dear Friends,

Sometimes the pace and volume of tragedy and the tangled web of sin and suffering in this world overwhelms me. Maybe you’ve been feeling that lately too. War in Ukraine…fires in Hawaii…earthquakes in Afghanistan…a migrant crisis…a dysfunctional congress…all of your personal problems and mine. Now we watch videos depicting appalling acts of terror and behold a mounting war in the land over which Jesus walked and worked and wept. What is happening in the Holy Land today strikes me as a complex mess over which tears are an appropriate response.

I’ve been to Israel and seen how the Jewish people have cultivated a garden out of a wilderness. I support the State of Israel as a needed refuge for an ancient people who have so often been persecuted and exterminated. I honor an unusual country that not only lives under the biblical Star of David but also raises the flag of democracy in a region where that exists nowhere else. Having lived in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles there, I have some small sense of what it means to live in constant anxiety that your life or loved ones will suddenly be destroyed by a wanton shooting or explosion. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, Christian or something else, I hope you will stand with Israel in this moment.

I also know that the Palestinian people have suffered. They’ve been displaced by Israel’s settlement policies. They’ve been used by organizations like Hamas (and the powerful forces behind it) the way that cartels and cabals usually manipulate and abuse impoverished people instead of investing in and LIFTing them. I’ve sat with Palestinian Christians and listened to stories that made me certain that the Old Testament prophets would regard their experience as injustice. Long-term poverty and despair is always fertile ground for hatred and violence. It doesn’t excuse it but it partly explains it.

What’s happening in Israel is a military and cultural conflict, a geopolitical conundrum and a humanitarian catastrophe. It is also a reminder of how much we need the Christ, the Messiah. No politician or policy can gain us the “shalom” for which we all long. We will never have peace in this world until the heart of Jesus and the values of the Kingdom of God hold sway everywhere. I know that sounds simplistic, but I hope it is increasingly obvious how true it is. As Christians, we live with a persevering expectation that there will come a day when Christ makes all things new (Revelation 21:5) and the Kingdom of Heaven will become the kingdom on earth. 

In the meantime, here are some constructive steps that Christ Church will take:

  1. We will commission our Missions Leadership Team to make an extra-mile grant to our mission partner, Musalaha, a Christian agency working for reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians and well-positioned to OFFER AID to suffering people on both sides of the present conflict. Your continuing financial support of our LIFT budget makes this possible.
  2. We will set aside some time in our worship services this coming Sunday to PRAY TOGETHER for the people and conditions in the Middle East.  We thought about holding a “special” prayer service and decided that this situation is grave enough that we want our whole church praying together about it.  Scripture enjoins us to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).
  3. We will continue to seek to BE A REDEMPTIVE COMMUNITY, a place where people not normally found together do come together to seek God’s grace and truth and pursue each other’s thriving. 

I was reminded of the power of that vision just this past Sunday. During our contemporary services, we invited anyone in our congregation who felt they were at a “Red Sea Moment” in life–a moment when they could see “No Way” and needed God to make a way–to come forward for prayer. 

The response was unanticipated and awesome. Dozens upon dozens of people flooded forward. They shared stories of cancer and confusion, of problems with children and parents, of marital struggles and workplace strife. They described feeling trapped by fear or guilt, by past choices or addictions, by financial pressures or personal sin. The people who revealed themselves were white and black and brown. They were young and old. They were affluent and poor. They could have been Israelis or Palestinians.

Three things appeared to help the people who came forward.

  1. To name what was troubling them;
  2. To share this with someone who cared about what they were enduring; and
  3. To turn to the God who makes a way when we see NO WAY.

This is how I am approaching the Red Sea Moment I see unfolding in the Middle East. I am naming before you what troubles me–the destruction, dangers and dilemmas I see in every direction there. It helps to share this with YOU because I believe you feel the gravity of this moment too and care for all the innocent people who have been killed or ravaged. Above all, I am inviting you to join me in praying for the work of our Way-Making God (Acts 9:2).  

With hope in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Daniel D. Meyer
Lead Pastor | ChristChurch.us