Posted on: July 30, 2014 2:01 PM – ACNS
[ACNS by Bellah Zulu] The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba has made an urgent call for prayer for the war affected Ukraine and Gaza region.
Archbishop Makgoba made the call yesterday in a statement released to ACNS and other media outlets. He said, “Both situations need urgent and intentional intercessions” and urged all Christians to “uplift in prayer those who have been devastated by war.”
Despite the recent plea by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon for a cessation of hostilities, Gaza and southern Israel have seen an increase in violence. International media report that more than 1,000 Palestinians and at least 52 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have died since the conflict began on July 8.
“The conflict in Gaza is a senseless, unnecessary conflict,” said Archbishop Makgoba. “No war will bring peace and security to Israel and Palestine, in particular not when it involves the heartless use of brute force which has been deployed in the past week.”
The Archbishop condemned the killings and the occupation and said he “joins those who are calling for a conversion of brief suspensions of hostilities into a permanent ceasefire.”
Archbishop Makgoba also bemoaned the blowing up of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine. “The aggressive killing of God’s people – so soon after the disappearance of another over the Indian Ocean – is almost unpardonable,” he said.
“We pray for the souls who died in this unnecessary conflict, we extend our condolences to the families of those who died, and we pray for the safety of airline passengers and for an end to this costly war.”
He prayed for those who have since died and conveyed his condolences to those who have lost loved ones. He also prayed also for the international leaders and diplomats who are seeking long-term solutions.
Archbishop Makgoba concluded: “The Israelis and the Palestinians can find a solution – now they must find one, and the international community needs to bring maximum pressure to bear on both to ensure they do.”
In a situation of armed violence as a tactic for supremacy over the human rights of others – such as we are witnessing in Israel & Gaza, Ukraine & Russia, USIS in Syria and Iraq – and conflicts in other troubled parts of the world – one cannot underestimate the need for prayer, that the combatants may come to realise the fruitlessness of war and conflict to bring about settlements of real or perceived grievances.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, one of the survivors of ethnic conflict in South Africa, invites us all as people of faith to pray for the cessation of hostilities – especially in situations of religious and ethnic diversity – where dogmatic rivalries are the source of the imposition of inhumane and harsh treatment of those who seek peace with justice.
It has been said that “There are more things wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” It is totally fitting, therefore, that the Church should be a ready practitioner of the discipline of prayer and peaceful negotiation – so that the hearts of those who seek domination over others might be softened, and turned to thoughts of the well-being of all human life.
Jesus, mercy; Mary, pray!
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand