Pastor’s Corner – November 5, 2023

God is Greater! 

“Allahu Akbar!” You hear this powerful declaration by Muslims all over the world. It simply means “God is Greater!” It is a celebration of life and first words whispered to the ears of the newborns by Muslim parents. We also hear them via news outlets by distressed parents crying out in Gaza when their children are bombed, buried and killed. In the face of oppression, violence and hopelessness, “Allahu Akbar!” – “God is Greater! “Allahu Akbar!” 

This coming Sunday it’s hard to read Psalm 43 and the prophet Micah 3:5-12 without directly relating with what is happening in Gaza, Palestine! It is a direct prophetic indictment against injustice. “Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths…Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood.” 

We hear the cries of grief and loss from the atrocities committed in an Apartheid state. We see the loss of humanity as oppressors and oppressed. This is not a war by equally powerful states. There is a long history of violence and dominance over seven decades in the making. The world is coming to realize and finally paying attention, because of the scale of violence. It is the failure and intentional policies in the making by Europe and America. It is an ongoing support by Christian Zionism and our military support to Israel, and more.

Nonetheless, “Allahu Akbar!” The heart of the conflict we see is not simply between Israelis and Palestinians. It is a conflict between all parties responsible, including us here in the States, Europe and around the world. No one is innocent. The potential for global war is far greater now than ever before. At the heart of it all, there is Zion, the hill where Jerusalem was built, the temple of God. And we hear the cries, in the words of Psalmist “Deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off? Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy!” (Ps. 43) “Allahu Akbar!” 

This coming Sunday we celebrate All Saints Sunday. We remember our loved ones who have gone before us. The clouds of witnesses are in communion with us, as we live out our baptismal covenant, to renounce evil and its power in the world and join in the ministry of Christ, to love, and do justice and build peace in our world. Indeed, God is Greater! “Allahu Akbar!” Amen.

Pastor Dae