It’s time to pray. Start now. Pray often. Pray hard!
This Sunday – Pentecost — Presidents Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres will arrive at the home of Pope Francis in the Vatican. Francis explained that their meeting is not a diplomatic initiative or mediation, but only a prayer for peace.
It was officially confirmed yesterday that Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew II will be joining them. The presence of the Successor of the Apostle Andrew next to the Successor of the Apostle Peter is a poignant sign of a deep and abiding commitment for peace in the Holy Land.
Such unity-in-practice between the Roman and Orthodox churches is already a major breakthrough and bodes well for what the Spirit has in mind for the gathering on Sunday.
Yes, we all should join in the spirit and energy of this prayer. Start now. Pray often. Pray hard.
Here’s a practical suggestion – light a candle. Let it be a tangible sign of the “tongues of fire” we hope will descend on the patriarch, pontiff and presidents this Pentecost – indeed, on all people of good will.
Most supermarkets carry 24-hour memorial candles. I found mine in the section of the store that also offers Sabbath supplies. Mine is the familiar Manischewitz brand. What if we all lit such a candle this Sunday asking for a fresh out-pouring of God’s empowering presence?
Whatever our expressions of prayer may take, let’s pray remembering that we not only need to change the hearts of world leaders. Many human hearts need to be transformed, beginning with our own.
Here is one prayer for peace adapted from the inter-faith Week of Prayer for World Peace website:
Lead us from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.
In our prayer let us pray with the first Pentecost in mind:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. (Acts 2:1-6)
Yes, may it be so. Let it be. Let it be.