I hope your week has started well. I must confess that I’m in recovery mode at the moment, having dealt with a lot of stress over the last seven days.
I won’t try to burden you with all my woes, but I will share one of my struggles with you, and I’m open to your feedback as to whether I handled it properly.
Last Friday was Al Quds Day– a day commemorated each year, mainly by Muslim people, to remember oppressed around the world, and particularly the oppressed people of Palestine.
That was my understanding of Al Quds up to last Thursday, at any rate, when my perceptions were strenuously challenged.
Some months ago I was invited to attend the Al Quds rally in Sydney and to say a few words in support of our Palestinian sisters and brothers. I readily accepted the offer as I feel that there is no group of people in the world today who have suffered so brutally as have the Palestinians people in this generation. Indeed, I take every opportunity I can to express my concern for their suffering and my prayers for an end to the 45-year-long Occupation of their land.
Then last Thursday, the day before the scheduled rally, I found myself being bombarded on Twitter with regards to an article that had been published in The Australian that day – an article that labelled Al Quds a hate day, and mentioned me by name as one of the ‘extremists’ who would be echoing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei’s call for the destruction of the State of Israel!
Needless to say, I contacted the organisers and started doing more research into the purpose of the rally and the meaning of Al Quds.
The guy who had recruited me for the rally directed me to the Al-Quds website. Unfortunately it turned out to be entirely in Arabic – a language in which I am completely illiterate. I did though find some English information about Al Quds and I did indeed confirm that it was started by Ayatollah Khomenei back in 1979. I also read the Ayatollah’s Al Quds speech, and it was indeed an angry response to the crimes of violence that he saw Israel perpetrating at the time.
Of course Khomenei’s speech needed to be taken in the context of 1979, and I knew the organisers of this rally well enough to know that they are not anti-Semitic people by any stretch of the imagination, and were solely concerned to see justice done for Palestine. Even so, it still wasn’t clear to me whether or not Al Quds day was itself essentially anti-Israel, and I knew that I couldn’t speak of my concern for the suffering of my Palestinian sisters and brothers if that compromised my love for my Jewish sisters and brothers.
My Archdeacon told me not to participate (as one would expect a good Archdeacon to do). Even so, I didn’t want to withdraw my support, and I was convinced that The Australian article was a piece of spin designed to intimidate people like myself and prevent us from participating.
I felt I needed more time to work things through, yet I didn’t have any more time, so I chose not to participate, as I just had too many questions. Even so, I felt sick in my stomach.
I remembered the words of Jesus:
“I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, … I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“(Matthew 25:35-36)
Jesus comes to us all the time in the guise of our suffering brothers and sisters. Was I turning my back on the oppressed people of Palestine, and so closing the door in Jesus’ face?!
That’s enough on that subject.
As is always the case, things are never so bleak such that we can’t find things to celebrate, and I’ve also had plenty to celebrate over the last week too (nb. click the pics to go full size):
And speaking of great fighters, it seems that Lovemore is going to be fighting again very soon – Friday, September 7th, in fact! This fight will be in Melbourne.
We’ll be booking another two tables at this bout for supporters, and we would love it if you could join us, ^fname^.
If you can make it to Melbourne to join us, hit me back. You can have the ticket at cost price. I’ll give you all the details you need when I hear from you.
OK. That’s enough from me for today. I’ll look forward to catching you next week if not before.
In the meantime, remember that if you want to support our work, just join us at the Fighting Fathers’ Member site. Your $10/month subscription keeps us online.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
About Father Dave Smith
Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four
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