Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Glimmer of Hope

Two summers ago we spent time on Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. My cousins, who live there, recommended Annapolis as a pretty town that is ideal for shopping and meals of soft-shelled crabs in its historic downtown.

Annapolis also has a secure naval academy and that's where US President George Bush hosted a brief peace conference involving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Most observers are surprised that the two men agreed to a peace process which has the United States as the broker and an actual timeline.

The handshake came first, now the hard part. There will be much cynicism and opposition from the stake-holders who refused to attend or were not invited. The history of peace talks in this part of the world reveals a host of broken promises and failure. Yet there is, as the BBC headline suggested, a glimmer of hope.

This Sunday is the first of Advent and we begin with the glimmer of the candle of hope. We will listen to a passage from the prophet Isaiah which says that the day will comes when "they will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." It sounds like a pipedream but it won't be the first time that dreams and visions become reality.

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