As a young girl, possibly a preteen, I used to pray for World Peace. Funny thing about young people, they offer God a somewhat naïve and expectant belief. All things can be possible with prayer and faith.
While in college, I prayed further for a more ecumenical world. It does seem as if the Christian denominations have become more unified across the globe. Others must have prayed as well.
Today, I believe that if that ecumenical approach were maintained between the world's major religions, world peace might become a possibility. Because of divisiveness, even within sects of religions, our lands seem in constant turmoil. Much of the conflict is centered in the Middle East, where Muslims and Jews alike are constantly flexing their muscles while the rest of us cringe at potential outcomes.
In DNA The Secret of Life, James D. Watson notes that molecular studies have shown that Jews and all other Middle Eastern groups are, genetically, almost indistinguishable. He reminds us of Abraham, father of Isaac and Ishmael. The first was ancestor of the Jews while the latter was forefather of the Arabs.
If we examine Abraham's relationships closely, we may gain more understanding. Abraham's wife, Sarai (Sarah) could not have her own children. She came up with the idea of getting some kids by giving Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid, to him as wife. Hagar bore Ishmael. Later, Sarah conceived and her son's name was Isaac. Ishmael apparently mocked the birth and growth of Isaac, so Sarah asked Abraham to send Hagar and her son away. He reluctantly did so.
God promised Abraham that nations would come from both sons. Jews are said to have come from Isaac and Arabs from Ishmael. And thereby began the everlasting conflict between these two peoples. It is said that DNA research supports the story of one common father and two separate mothers of these two nations.
It is hard to understand that disagreements between Sarah and Hagar could have caused all the hatred between these two sides. This has all gone on for generations and generations.
The men who fathered the next generation of these two great nations were half brothers. I pray that the nations begun by Abraham can overcome their enmity and heal their wounds.
In the words of Michael Jackson, albeit in a different context, "why can't we be friends?" The world needs more friendship, please.