LF remarks to videoconference

For some time Leighton has been part of the National InterReligious Leadership Initiative, a coalition of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders who have joined together to urge the US government to be even more active in seeking peace in Israel/Palestine.

He was asked to be the evangelical participant at the transnational video conference in late June, featuring speakers live from Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. Following are his remarks:
NILI Transnational Video Conference
Jerusalem and Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2005
http://www.visualwebcaster.com/Different_Future/29344/29344.html
Remarks by Leighton Ford

“The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.”

Those are the words of a great Christian, John Wesley.

And they are words that stir in me as we gather together today. They remind me of how we need to meet each other.

“There is no such thing as solitary religion …”

I am here today as you are, as a member of the human race. Nothing human is alien to us. As we have heard your very human voices of pain, and of hope, we take your words into our hearts; we salute you as our fellows, we are here to say we too want to enter into your longings and dreams.

“There is no such thing as solitary religion …”

I am here also as an American citizen, to acknowledge our debt to God and you. We in these United States have been blessed by God in order to be a blessing, but too often we have consumed our blessings rather than sharing them. Forgive us where we have failed to reach out to you in your time of need.

And we are here to say our President and the leaders of our nation, you must – you must -do more to lead us to be full partners in walking the Road Map to Peace.

“There is no such thing as solitary religion …”

I am here as a believer in the God of Abraham. I am here as a follower of Christ, as an evangelical Christian in the spirit of my Lord and Savior who said “Blessed are the peacemakers.” And there are many thousands of evangelical believers who want to join their voices and prayers in this effort for peace in Israel/Palestine.

We evangelicals are people of the book, Bible-believing people. We believe in the covenant promise that God made with his people. We also believe in the words of the prophets who told the covenant people to care for the fatherless, the sojourners and strangers in their midst, and to seek justice and mercy and the peace of the city and land God promised.

Ours is a faith of love and hope, not of anger and despair. Let me say a few words to my evangelical brothers and sisters. Ours is a faith of love and hope, not of fear and anger and despair. Let us not allow the evangel, the gospel which is “good news” to be turned into bad news. Let us not be caught up in the strange notion then when things get worse and worse we should be happy, because that means Jesus is coming! When he said “I will come again” he also said, in the midst of wars and upheaval, “My peace I give you” and “as the Father sent me so I send you.” The hope of his coming is not an excuse for resignation to evil, but a spur to love and faith in action.

When I was a small boy I learned to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!” Now is not the time to hide our lights – but to let them shine together, and to join with all people of good will, in the search for peace, and the war against poverty.

“There is no such thing as solitary religion …”

I also am here as a grandfather. Next Thursday, in a hospital just a few miles from here, another Leighton Ford will be born into the world. This Leighton Ford will be a girl, our youngest granddaughter! What will the end of this century be like for little Leighton? I pray with all my heart that long before our five precious grandchildren reach my age the Holy Land may be at peace. For their sake, for the sake of all our children and all the grandchildren of the Holy Land and the world we are here to ask our leaders to put your whole hearts into the holy task of peacemaking, and join with us in praying: Let there be peace, O Lord, in our time! And let it begin with us!

Leighton

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