Occasionally – not often but once in awhile – when I read the lectionary texts from the Bible I long for “the old days” – a simpler time. This morning’s reading from Genesis (GN 13:2, 5-18) has Abram and Lot in conversation about their many possessions and how the land can’t support both of them; their herdsmen were quarreling. So Abram simply says to Lot, “We’re kinsmen; we don’t want any strife between our herdsmen or ourselves. Let’s separate. If you want to go left, I’ll go right and vice versa.” So Lot went east and Abram stayed in Canaan – just like that.
Would that things could be settled today in like manner. But no, the strife in “the Holy Land” goes on and on with no peace on the horizon. How are we to interpret God’s promises in these complex times? Certainly not with contentious rhetoric or weapons. How can God break through to the hearts of all parties in a way that will bring peace to the Middle East? Only, it seems, by listening more deeply to the hearts of one another and allowing love for God and for the land to be the impetus for reconciliation. It will take great leaders and great willingness to surrender on the part of everyone in order to see the truth that all are one in God and that there is enough for everyone’s need. May it be true in our day. May peace come to reign once again, I pray.