Tragedy struck in Israel last week! A 21-year-old Palestinian man planned to attack Jewish families as they exited their synagogue in Jerusalem. Seven Israelis were killed and three injured by this young man. Since that attack videos and photos showing Palestinians celebrating these murders have been played around the world. Tensions are high as we see that violence against innocent people seems to be the new normal.
United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken traveled to Israel and expressed his administration's views on how to advance peace. He suggested that improving the daily lives of Palestinians in the "West Bank" and Gaza and realizing a two-state vision would do so. My opinion is that these suggestions are like putting a small band-aid on a large, open wound.
There is a root issue that is being ignored as we try to solve the problem of growing violence in communities all around the world. At the risk of oversimplifying this problem, I want to share a deeper issue that has grown over the years and has created a huge void in the lives of young people. It seems to me that many of the young people in our society are part of a lost generation. They are in desperate need of families who bless and impart to them a sense of purpose, identity, and destiny for their lives. God's plan is to bless every child born on the earth. Ephesians 1:3 says it well: "Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus—all because He sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate Him with all our hearts!" (TPT)
Who is affirming the call and sense of destiny that our children have through Christ? Terry and Melissa Bone authored a book called The Power of the Blessing. They ask, "How do our heavenly blessings get transported to earth?" The answer: "Through words! Words we speak are vehicles that transport spiritual blessings from heaven to earth. They transform the promises of God from potential in heaven to power on earth."
In the Jewish culture, when a child turns13 there is a ceremony to mark their transition into maturity and to bless them on their next stages of life. This ancient rite of passage is called bar mitzvah for boys and bat mitzvah for girls. Family and friends and leaders of their synagogue join together to celebrate the child and impart blessings to them. The key is to affirm them in the call on their lives, to give them a sense of purpose, and to assure them that they are loved and supported.
I cannot help but wonder: If all the cultures in the world adopted this form of blessing for their teenagers, would it not make a difference in their self-esteem and sense of purpose, and in the way they integrate into society? Such an encouraging life event for these young people might completely change the way they think. We might see the manifestation of love and peace instead of hate and violence. For children who are missing parents, and even for those who have them, this could be a place where the Church steps into the gap and implements a blessing time for the young ones in their care. We must sow into the next generation! Without our doing so, we will have a lost one that cannot find their God-given purpose on earth.
Joan E. Mathias