Lectionary Selection: Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
O Lord, we often do not understand why injustice continues to prevail in our world, or why your Divine purpose remains hidden from our eyes while we witness political oppression and hear the human cry for freedom. We witness your mighty acts in history: You look with favor on the lowly, and your mercy is for those who fear you from generation to generation; you show strength with your arm and scatter the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; you bring down the powerful from their thrones and lift up the lowly. We bear witness to your love for the world you created and, with those who await your mercy and justice, we pray: “hosanna,” “save us.” Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Israel/Palestine:
“[Jesus’] disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered...” (John 12: 16)
On December 6, 2017, President Trump issued an imperial decree declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and promising to move the United States Embassy to it from Tel Aviv. A subsequent announcement reveals the plan to open the new embassy in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. That implies a set date of May 15, on which, it is rumored, President Trump will personally be present for the occasion. Already, all measures of security are being taken for the “great procession” of the head of the world’s greatest empire!
One reads these events against the background of the humble procession of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the vision that it bears for the salvation of all humankind, as the crowds on that day shouted with deep longing, “hosanna;” “save us!”
Donald Trump may be viewed, by himself or others, as the savior of Israel, bringing about messianic hopes of its future; but for the Palestinian natives of this land from time immemorial his gestures are nothing less than acts of political violence, more slaps in their face. Seventy years ago they experienced the catastrophe [the “nakba”] of the destruction of more than 450 Palestinian villages and the displacement of 5 million refugees and their descendants. Fifty-one years ago they experienced the military occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. All the while, through successive US vetoes of UN resolutions, America denied them their vindication.
Today’s disciples are bewildered by these events, and cannot quite fully understand the Divine purpose in them or in all similar manifestations of injustice. Yet, we know that the Savior is glorified and will continue to be glorified, despite all the self-seeking interests of the governments of this world.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Victor Makari)
Mission Partners in Israel/Palestine:
- Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem
- Diyar Consortium
- East Jerusalem YMCA (Palestine)
- Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
- Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
- Friends Meeting in Ramallah
- Kairos Palestine
- Rawdat el-Zuhur (Palestine)
- Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Jerusalem)
- Tantur Ecumenical Institute
YWCA of Palestine (Palestine)
More information on Israel/Palestine: http://www.globalministries.org/israel_palestine
Global Ministries Mission Coworker in Israel/Palestine:
Rev. Victor Makari and his wife Sara are jointly appointed by the Common Global Ministries Board and the Presbyterian Church (USA).They serve with the Diyar Consortium, a Lutheran- based ecumenical organization in Israel and Palestine: Victor in the capacity of international consultant for Diyar’s “Religion and State - Middle East” program as well as liaison for ecumenical partnership for the PC(USA), and Sara as editor of English-language publications of Diyar. Their appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.