Heart to Heart

7 December 2014

Dear Friends

We’re in the season of Advent, just two and a half weeks left until Christmas.

I’ve been battling with the sermon theme all week. I read it on Monday as I travelled with a Church of Scotland delegation to the town of Sderot, just a mile or two from the Gaza strip and as I listened to a Jewish woman who, while traumatised by the rockets that come over from Gaza, is saying to her own government, “Stop fighting. We will never sort things out this way”. And on Tuesday, I read the words of Isaiah again as I walked around the old city of Jerusalem among heavily armed policemen and women. On Wednesday, I read the words in Palestine Bethlehem.

“Comfort, comfort my people … Speak tenderly to Jerusalem”. How do we speak words of comfort in a place that has been so full of conflict and violence? How can this place be comforted, this place with huge walls and huge guns? It took me two hours to get through four different security points on my way back!

The only tenderness I can find is the one that is born in tears – tears for the brokenness of this place, tears for the fervent religion that is based on love but ends up in hate. Tears for the landless, the broken, the ones for whom God has a ‘soft spot’.

You and I are witnesses to Jesus. We know that he loves all people. We know he is the prince of peace. We know how he was killed by the powerful, the religious because his message was inconvenient. We must be peacemakers and work tirelessly for the peace of every part of God’s world … we must learn to comfort God’s people and to speak “tenderly” to Jerusalem and every city.

Lots of love



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