A conference in Cyprus hosted by the Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine (LIRIP) brought Israeli and Palestinian Christian leaders together in order to pledge to work together and to avoid publicly attacking each other. The group discussed refugees, violence, and denied justice for Palestinian families. The group issued a joint statement that affirmed their unity under the Messiah.
Why this matters for church leaders:
The best hope for this contentious region is the Prince of Peace, but does your congregation know about the ways believers are working toward peace?
- Are you aware of the church on both sides? This story of peacemaking among Christians from different nations/people groups is an important example of the Gospel uniting all people together under Christ.
- How can we work toward unity? If Christians in the midst of this ongoing conflict can work toward unity, are there lesser issues we face that keep us divided?
- What is our role in peacemaking? This grassroots movement is a reminder that each church can start grassroots peacemaking in its own context.
How does this story offer inspiration to your own congregation?
As advocates, the signers promised to be stick up for each other, ask each other about the geopolitical conflict instead of relying on media coverage, and be sensitive with social media use. They also promised to spread the message of unity back home.
Christians on both sides should strive to “keep their Christian identity above their national and tribal loyalty, and must seek also to conduct their activities in accordance with Christ’s commandments,” wrote Palestinian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab. “That often requires that they be open to and involved in reconciliation activities whenever they can.”
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