Bishop Riah’s Christmas Message


Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal was the 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem – a diocese that includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. He is also a personal friend of mine.

As ever, this great campaigner for peace urges us to commit ourselves to the task of reconciliation and peace in the year ahead. Father Dave

Bishop Riah (right) with me and Sheikh Mansour in 2006

Bishop Riah (right) with me and Sheikh Mansour in 2006

Dearest Friends, the Children of Light,

The time has come for hearts to be targeted and brains to be triggered.   A loaded gun is pointed at our orbiting star.  Wake up dear companion comrades from a long sleepy coma.  How much harm has the human race inflicted on each other, how violently, rather instantaneously, and perhaps irreversibly, have we injured the universe entrusted to us.

Some prophesize, others predict.  Some approve, others contradict.    Yet, our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic arena.   It is the only world known so far to harbor life.

“I implore you, I beg you, and I order you: stop the repression” said Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador to his people.  Let us join hands to stop the crimes all around.  Instruments of destruction, like cannibals, feed on rivers of blood.  Tanks, like carnivores, swallow up human bodies both dead and alive.  Submarine sharks and F16 fighter eagle jets, fire hatred from high above and from deep below.  Spy satellites are indeed smart…!!

Half dead and half alive should not be our choice.  The question of birth remains as mysterious as that of death.   The first is joyous; the second sorrowful.   Behold, not even the most distinguished geniuses in the history of mankind remember being born!    Most of us mythologize about it.  Dates mark our entry and departure to and from the world’s gateway.  Every birth is a miracle.  Every birth is a resurrection.  When the sun sets, it dies only to rise again.

May the Prince of Peace; the sun/Son of Truth, of Justice and of Life rise on the horizon of all nations.  May we witness the Omega of all evil and celebrate the Alpha of love, reconciliation and tranquility through 2013.

Wishing you a joyous Christmas and a most blessed New Year.

+Bishop Riah

13th Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem

Christmas 2012

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