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Assistant Pastor Donna Pollock

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“Next year in Jerusalem!”  These are the last words of a traditional Passover Seder.  Formerly it meant making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover next year, especially when there was no Jewish state.  For centuries it was an expression of hope and wishful thinking, but it also has messianic overtones, casting a wistful eye toward what could lie beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Whatever else it means, Pres. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has set off alarms and critics around the world.

I don’t know exactly what this means spiritually, religiously or politically, but this charges the atmosphere!  I didn’t realize that Russia beat the U.S. by recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier this year.  Actually, Trump was cautious, never saying “eternal and undivided,” which would appeal to the Israeli government.  And, he left open any “agreement” to the two states involved.  What he has accomplished is perhaps some new thinking, although the announcement will not appeal very much to aggrieved Palestinians.

I sincerely doubt if any other world leader could have done what our president just did.  Most leaders prefer to avoid conflict, but ours sometimes seems to revel in it.  Is this a fulfillment of a political promise, carelessness, or a prophetic act?  Or, on the ground, could it actually push the peace discussion ahead by forcing others to recognize the existence of the state of Israel and Israel’s claim on this historic city?  Stay tuned.

Pastor Jeff