Two weeks ago, I stated rather bluntly that life has been downright horrid for most people in most countries throughout human history. My point there was to help us realize what a privileged time and place we inhabit. As the war in the Holy Land drags on, I find myself recalling the various people I met while on pilgrimage there last year. As far as I know, they are not on the front lines of this war, but they are nonetheless victims of it. So, I invite you to join me in praying for the unseen victims of this war:

Let us pray for all the tour guides, bus drivers, souvenir sellers, and workers at the various holy sites who have no work to do or income to support them because the tours have stopped.

Let us pray for the restaurant and hotel owners and employees (receptionists, servers, cooks, and cleaners) who have no work because the tours have stopped.

Let us pray for displaced Gazan olive farmers in this harvest season, who are unable to access their ripe crops because of displacement and the continued violence.

Let us pray for all farmers whose produce might be rotting in the fields because there are no tourists to feed, workers to harvest, and/or the infrastructure to transport food is breaking down or cut off. (There is some good news here, as some spontaneous farmers’ markets are springing up, but so much is in chaos and uncertainty.)

Let us pray for the Jerusalem Santa’s House, where the lack of tourists and fears of local residents are likely to decimate their income for the year.

Let us pray for all the children who live in terror that the war will spread, their homes will be bombed next, and/or their kidnapped family members and friends will be killed.

Let us pray for all adults who worry about the impact of this war on their families, their friends, and their beloved homeland.

Let us pray for the damage done to interreligious dialogues and efforts to bring peace to the Holy Land, both locally and in countries around the world.

What other victims of war would you pray for?

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in America, I invite you also to give thanks for all who make your celebration possible: farmers, merchants, cooks, friends, family, children—and for the gift of not living in a war-torn country.

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