We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:22-25
I’m frequently asked how I maintain hope in the face of such challenging realities related to my work. With policy decisions from the White House that fail to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all of God’s children in the Middle East, to a polarized and hyper-partisan Congress, how is it possible to believe we can actually shift U.S. policy toward one that centers justice and honors the equality of all in the Middle East? All of this is exacerbated by a global pandemic and virus that will have even more devastating effects on marginalized communities. I will admit it can be quite difficult at times. I’m not a naturally optimistic person. But as CMEP’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon often reminds us, “despair is the luxury of the privileged.” Who am I, as a privileged U.S. citizen, to give up, especially when so many in Israel/Palestine continue to struggle daily for a future in which all people living in the land we call Holy have full equality and rights under the law? Giving up is simply not an option.