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Hope for the Peace of Jerusalem

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Brian Mayes

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“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, Peace be within you. For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.” ~ Psalm 122:6


Today, an urgent question must be: Is there hope for Israel? As we ponder this issue, let us remember that it was during this week, 79 years ago, in the year 1945, that the deeply respected German theologian, pastor, and anti-Nazi objector, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was killed at the hands of the Nazi regime.


What a legacy he shared as he displayed the true cost of discipleship. Let us remember his words today, as he spoke under the oppressive conditions of the Nazi culture: “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”


We honor Bonhoeffer for his heroic sacrifice, devotion to God, and refusal to bow the knee to a murderous regime.


During his lifetime, my uncle, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also spoke of an ultimate test: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”


MLK and his wife Coretta also traveled to Israel. He encouraged support for Israel. “Peace for Israel means security. The world and all people of good will must respect the territorial integrity of Israel.” MLK on ABC's "Issues and Answers" show in June 1967.


Prayers and love for Israel is part of my “King Family Legacy.” Months before her death on March 7, 2024, my beloved mother, Dr. Naomi Ruth Barber King traveled to Israel on a mission of peace. There, in the face of death, including the murder of a member of her delegation, Mother prayed for peace.



I too traveled to Israel in 2011. There I prayed for peace while among both Israelis and Palestinians. One thing that was consistently apparent, it isn’t the masses of the people of the land who are fighting, they aren’t responsible for the tension and war talk. The people who inhabit the small geographical territory of Israel are human beings. They are parents with children. They are people who want a safe place to live and love. It is so unfortunate that the political unrest causes parents to fear for the safety of their children. As is often the case in almost every country on the planet, it is political differences, greed and power struggles that add the fuel to the fire so to speak. All the talk of peace negotiations and land swaps are made by a handful of humans, and the masses suffer trying to sort through the propaganda.

"I don't know the answer to the Middle East. What I do know is that my father would be for the support of all humanity, whatever that looks like. And today, it does not look like humanity exists in an appropriate way in the Middle East." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


My father Rev. A. D. King, my mother Dr. Naomi, our uncle Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and our grandparents taught us that war and laws and political battles only beget more of the same. Laws may bring people to the table, but it is love that will melt hearts and bring the healing power of forgiveness. This is true in Israel, and our group bore witness to this truth. Don’t take my word for it, though. When God speaks to you, and beckons you to come… “Go ye!”


Herein lies the answer for Israel. Prayer. Today and always, let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Let’s pray for the revelation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for human dignity, from the womb to the tomb and beyond; for the one blood human race. Shalom.



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