Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has issued a message on the war in Gaza. “In recent days we have seen unspeakable images of violence in Rafah and escalating violence in the West Bank,” the message read, in part. “Like the prophet Isaiah, we lament, ‘How long, O Lord?’ (Isaiah 6:11).”

The message continued: “At times a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis doesn’t seem possible, yet as Christians we believe that it is. The psalmist assures us that God ‘makes wars cease to the end of the earth’ (Psalm 46:9). At times it seems that there is nothing we can do, yet through baptism God calls us to be peacemakers. We live out this calling in many ways, including through prayer, advocacy and accompaniment.”

Eaton wrote that the ELCA will continue to “pray for all people who are suffering and grieving, and for this war to end diplomatically in a lasting peace, rooted in justice and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis”; to “advocate for an immediate, bilateral cease-fire and a halt in U.S. arms transfers to Israel, to prevent further loss of life; the release of all hostages and uncharged prisoners; and unimpeded humanitarian aid for all in need,” stressing that the church will continue to advocate for these priorities with the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress; and to “walk with all who long for a just peace, including especially our Palestinian siblings in the ELCA, as well as Christian, Muslim and Jewish partners here in the U.S. and in the Holy Land.”

The message also pointed to an ELCA resource page for the crisis in the Holy Land, the ELCA social statement “For Peace in God’s World,” and the ELCA’s initiative Sumud, which issues advocacy-action alerts.

Read the full message.

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