"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may those who love you be secure."
Kenneth L. Samuel
Jerusalem is a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims around the globe. People in every corner of the world are deeply concerned and invested in the peace of Jerusalem. Some of them are religious; some of them are not.
Concern for the peace of Jerusalem unites people of divergent cultures, nationalities and faiths. Concern for the security of certain sectors of Jerusalem engenders contentiousness and strife among us.
The Psalmist prays for the security of not just one group, religion or class. The Psalmist prays for the security of EVERYONE who loves Jerusalem.
The prerequisite question of peace is not "What are we afraid of?'" but "What do we love?"
Partisan security is really a myth. Isn't the security of Jews intimately connected with the security of Palestinians? Isn't the security of middle and upper class suburbanites tied to the security of inner city youth? Doesn't the security of progressives in blue states have something to do with the security of conservatives in red states?
The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are as poignant today as they were in the 1960's: "We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish together as fools."
The prayer for peace is still rooted in an abiding concern for the common good. When sectarian defenses give way to shared interests; and when individual insecurities are superseded by mutual investments; the prayer for peace will become a real possibility in this world.
Until then, all who love Jerusalem will continue to forfeit peace in favor of false securities.
Dear God, today we pray for the peace and the security of those within and those beyond our borders. Now make us instruments of your peace. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.