Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

February 24/19 - Be Holy

From Paul Turley


In the next few days, Jared Kushner, special advisor to the President of the United States and the president’s son-in-law is expected to visit the Middle East to unveil the U.S. government’s peace plan for Israel and Palestine.


The plan, two years in development, is an economic and political plan for the region. “Jared is going to present the economic plan to the region. The economic plan only works if the region supports it,” a senior administration official said Tuesday. “We understand that if the political aspect of it is not solid, the economic aspect is meaningless. But at the same time the political aspect will not succeed without a proper economic plan.”


While Kushner’s visit will include many of the important nations in the region, it will not include Israel or Palestine. While Donald Trump is calling the plan “the deal of the century,” Palestinian leaders have refused to participate in the U.S.-led effort since December 2017, when the Trump administration turned its back on decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, has said the plan was “dead on arrival.”


While the White House team visits this month, many commentators agree that little is likely to happen before the outcome of Israel’s elections on April 9, with some suggesting that with the U.S. gearing up for its own presidential election at the end of 2020, there is no likelihood of the plan seeing the light of day in any meaningful way.


Nikki Haley, previously the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is one of the few administration officials to have commented on the plan. At the end of 2018 she said, “Unlike previous attempts at addressing this conflict, this plan is not just a few pages, containing unspecific and unimaginative guidelines – it is much longer. It contains much more thoughtful detail. It brings new elements to the discussion, taking advantage of the new world of technology that we live in. It recognizes the realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed – and changed in very powerful and important ways. It embraces the reality that things can be done today that were previously unthinkable. This plan will be different from all previous ones. The critical question is whether the response will be any different…Ultimately, as always, the final decisions can only be made by the parties themselves. Israelis and Palestinians will decide their own futures.”


However, while the U.S. administration finishes the plan Palestinian leaders continue to assert that the plan is not genuine. “It’s really a lie,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian politician. “Everybody is working on this fictitious concept. [The US] became partners with Israel and they are implementing Israeli policies. All we see are unilateral measures by the U.S. and by Israel…The reality on the ground is now being engineered.”



Explore…Luke 6:27–38

  • How does Jesus’ exhortation to love our enemies extend, in a practical sense, the Golden Rule as quoted in verse 31?
  • What do you think needs to happen to bring peace between Israel and Palestine and how might those thoughts and principles play out in your community?



God of peace, we know only too well our capacity for inflicting pain and suffering on ourselves and others. We preach your peace week after week but we so often don’t translate our words into love. Make us patient with each other and give us the wisdom and courage to build our capacity for peacemaking. Amen.



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