A message from Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, on the Israel Gaza conflict
Published on 10 October 2023
Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has issued a statement in response to the outbreak of violence in the Holy Land.
Mrs Foster-Fulton said:
"I reach out to you all, as we continue to grapple with the shattering violence unfolding in Israel and Gaza, and to ask for your prayers and your action.
"Across Scotland, our Jewish friends, neighbours and colleagues grieve the loss of loved ones following the devastating terrorist attacks we witnessed unfolding over the weekend, worry for friends and family who have been kidnapped and fear the possibility of increased antisemitism in their own neighbourhoods as tensions rise across the world.
"In Scotland, our friends with family in Gaza mourn the loss of loved ones, worry for those unable to find safety or a place of refuge and fear an even more uncertain future.
"Together we agonise, yet again, over peace gone to pieces. We desperately try to fathom how we can be any comfort to the members of our global family trapped in the middle of such a barrage of violence and fear. We are appalled by the horrifying levels of brutality and the inhumanity of mass murder scenes which were broadcast across our screens in horrifying, gut-wrenching detail.
"We call for calm and active consideration for the innocent civilians who are suffering in Israel and Gaza. Peace in our world can never come through violence. Peace in our spirits can never come through revenge.
"So, what can we do in the face of war?
"If you pray, pray from your guts, not your lips – offer a prayer that moves in you and through you – one that calls you to reach out to a fearful neighbour, to speak up for peace and calm and the unity of humanity.
"Pray for all those many people injured and those mourning the loss of loved ones and those living in abject fear who await news of family members missing.
"Wherever you are, check in on your Jewish neighbours, friends and colleagues.
"Wherever you are, check in on your neighbours, friends and colleagues who have family in Gaza.
"Wherever you are, be mindful of your words. Tarring with a broad brush adds more fuel to the fire, so be kind to one another wherever you find each other.
"The Zulu phrase, Ubuntu, is the theme for my year as Moderator and its challenging truth resonates powerfully today. ‘I am because you are.' We are one global family. When we look into the face of another human being, God looks out from the windows of their souls. Today, love God by loving each other."
A prayer for peace
‘In days to come … they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.'
God, it is said that you are the peace that passes all understanding. We sit now, staggered at how quickly the fragile half-peace we had pieced together has unravelled.
The lessons we have so desperately needed to learn have been laid aside as the instruments of war begin their horrible, haunting reprise. Call us back to our senses.
For the angry, abused and frightened among us, who strike out in a distorted quest for victory, help us find ways to convince that there is no victory to be found in violence.
Peace-making is a daunting path to tread, especially when fear follows so closely behind, so breathe your loving spirit into our hearts and help us walk your way.
We pray ceaselessly for our family in Israel and Palestine, for we are all family and when one part suffers, we are all depleted. Peace in pieces is a collective, shared shame.
God, you are the peace that passes all understanding, so help us understand how to find you.