In the worst bout of Israeli and Palestinian violence in more than five years, the death toll has risen to 518 Palestinians, including many women and children. Israel reports that 18 soldiers and 2 civilians have died. The Palestinian group Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel, while Israeli forces are bombarding the Gaza strip with missile strikes and have mounted a land invasion. Despite international appeals and mounting concern over the targeting of civilians, including Israel's attacks on hospitals and residential neighborhoods, neither side appears ready to stop fighting.

And so we pray this news . . .

For People in the Midst of War

O God, you have loved each of us
since before we were born,
and you love each of us in equal
and abundant measure.
Yet we sometimes choose not to
see ourselves in one another.
We sometimes choose to live as though
we were not the brothers and sisters
we know ourselves to be.

Pour your blessings upon
all your people in every nation,
especially in Palestine and Israel,
for whom we pray today,
whatever their faith or ethnicity.
Preserve their lives,
deliver them from the terror of war,
and, when this is over, guide them
in the way of reconciliation and peace.
Bring them a deepening sense of
their oneness in the human family,
that those things that unite your people
may be seen and felt as greater
than anything that can ever divide us.

— Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
in Women's Uncommon Prayers:
Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated
edited by Elizabeth Rankin Geitz,
Marjorie A. Burke, and Ann Smith

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