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I have been asked why I have bothered to speak and write for thirty-two years about unfashionable repentance. Why be ‘a voice crying in the wilderness? It’s a waste of time’. I could answer, that if I cry for long enough in the wilderness, eventually at least one person will hear me – even if it is only myself, who constantly needs to repent. But that is not the real reason. The real reason why I cry about repentance is because I feel that I have been put here to do this, and that I cannot disobey the law of my being, however badly I fulfil it.

Today I reflect on the barbaric outrage perpetrated a week ago in Cana, where once our Lord turned water into wine and now bombs have turned water into blood, slaughtering 60 people, 37 of them children, one only a month old. Some firmly assert that Israel is using phosphorous bombs against Lebanese families. A little to the north, bombs later destroyed one of the most ancient Orthodox churches in the Lebanon. In any case, the Israeli military is clearing a ten-kilometre deep zone of southern Lebanon of all human life. A thousand Lebanese civilians are already dead and tens of thousands are crippled, physically and psychologically. It is said that one million Lebanese have now fled their homes, terrorized by the Jewish bombs, just as British Army soldiers were terrorized by the terrorist founders of the Jewish State and in 1948 left Palestine for good.

Despite all this devastation, fanatical Muslim terrorists still fire off their rockets. However, with their charges of between 0.5 and 2 kilos of explosive, these puny if very deadly antiques with their Second World War technology, look like fireworks compared to the 1,000 kilo and more bombs being flung at Lebanon by the barbaric Israeli war-machine. Just to the south of Bethlehem, the huge Israeli munitions plant at Armageddon (Megiddo) is working around the clock and American munitions for Israel’s continuing war are being air-freighted via Prestwick in Scotland, with the permission of the British government

Massive crowds protest in Iraq. Yet, the same Western leaders who yesterday seized Iraq’s oil reserves, toppling the murderous leader whom they originally set up, today say that Israel has the right ‘to defend itself’. How do they sleep at night? How will the crushed and maimed Lebanese children visit them in their nightmares? If not tonight, then in the nights of their old age, in twenty-five years time? Have they not learned anything from the fate of the former Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon, who lies dying in a long-drawn out agony, tormented by the Lebanese war crimes of his past.

In the meantime, in the darkened spirits of outraged Muslims all over the world, a thousand 9/11s are being plotted. Islam, like Judaism, is not known as a religion of forgiveness. But maybe, if it saw a miracle - the secular West repenting - then the miracle of forgiveness might just happen. After all, to repent is to ask forgiveness of God and one’s neighbour, a form of love for them, which sums up the two Great Commandments of the Gospel, supposedly respected by the West. If the West repented, then the Muslims would indeed say: ‘Thou hast kept the good wine until now’.

Therefore, amid the wilderness of the West, hiding behind its flaking facade of nominal Christianity, I say again: Repent, before it is too late, and your water too is turned to blood. ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’.

Fr Andrew

St Christina of Tyre
24 July/6 August 2006

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