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What can we do?

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it... Luke 19.41


We seem to have been here so many times before in recent years, helpless bystanders watching a crisis unfolding before our eyes, wondering what we can do about it. Perhaps all we can do is weep? After all, consider the trouble Antonio Gutierrez, Secretary General of the United Nations no less, got himself into yesterday, when he articulated the very genuine dilemma so many share, acknowledging Israel's duty of self-defence while recognising the many years of suffering endured by the Palestinian people. Had he merely expressed his anguish in tears at least his officials would still have had access to the region!


If The West has learned one lesson over recent decades, surely it is the inadvisability of interfering in foreign conflicts whose nuances we do not understand? That does not mean sitting idly by while innocents suffer. As the old adage has it "all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men (and women) to do nothing". Yet the most influential person in history included tears - even silence - in his armoury of wisdom and power.


To weep over Jerusalem is not an impotent gesture of hopelessness, it is an expression of the deepest empathy. It articulates feelings that recognise the situation is more acute than any quick fix, however tempting, will address. It allows for a measured response that stands a far greater chance of reaching the nub of the issue. In Jesus' case it led to the cross and, beyond that, to resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' concern for the inhabitants of Jerusalem resulted in the salvation of the world, offering us all the prospect of peace and eternal life. Dèanamaid ùrnaigh airson sìth Ierusleim agus slàinte an t-saoghail gu-lèir...

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