How long, O Lord, how long!
“A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has gone by,
or like a watch in the night.”
But we are not like you.
For us a few minutes may feel like hours,
and a week may feel like a lifetime.
Some Palestinians have been refugees in Gaza
and the West Bank since 1948.
For my whole lifetime,
families have lived in refugee camps.

How long, O Lord, how long!
How long can hostages hope for return home?
How long will the bombing go on?

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

Your birth, dear Jesus, was
celebrated by massacre.

Voices are heard in Gaza,
weeping and great mourning,
Sarai weeping for her children,
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

Massacre continues in the land you walked,
dear Jesus, 2000 years later.

How long, O Lord, how long!
Fear and hatred are
the certain outcomes of this war.
When will we follow the way of peace?
How long will fear and hatred
feed fear and hatred?
How long, O Lord, how long!

O Lord, Psalm 137 verses 8 and 9 say:
“O daughter of Babylon,
doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us –
he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.”

O Lord, may we turn from fear and anger
and look to the future where there is
true peace and justice.

You, O Lord, are the true God,
the greatest power, perfect love.

So we dare to pray for what appears impossible:
that the peoples of Israel/Palestine
“shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.”

How long, O Lord, how long before that day?

Written by Jane Peers and shared by her as part of Morning Worship on Advent Sunday, 3 December 2023


Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

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