In the book of Ezra we read how the exiled Israelite s traveled back to Jerusalem from Babylon, which is modern-day Baghdad.
This journey was over 700 miles and took them over 4 months to complete.
They started off near Baghdad not too far from the current border with Iran and would have traveled through most of Iraq.
They would have gone through or near to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Their final destination would take in Gaza and Palestine and modern day Israel.
Can you imagine taking that journey now?
You would see terror and destruction, it would not be safe. Borders barricaded, suspicious stares, I don’t think you would get far. And being granted religious freedom.. being released to go and re-build the temple to you God.. Really.
You would pass refugees if you were to walk that road, people desperate to find their home, or to be given a chance to make a new one.
I can’t really imagine it. I can’t bear to think what God thinks about it all. So i guess I just hope and pray.
As we consider their journey let us use this time of silence to pray for the wounds of the world and especially the Middle East.
For all of those caught up in war.
For all the refugees from Syria and Palestine who want to return home.
For those oppressed for their religion or ethnicity.
For world leaders as they tackle terrorism.
For those who hunger and thirst.
For the parents of missing and dead children.
God of peace
in the wilderness of conflict
let us hear your voice
and be challenged to repent.
Fill us with your holy rage
that we may join your protest
and proclaim the injustice of war.
Embolden us with the Gospel of hope
that we may oppose oppression
and proclaim liberation.