Lectionary Selection: Matthew 18: (21-35)
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
Gracious God, your Word exposes our predisposition to retaliate, seek vengeance and pay evil for evil. Jesus’ picture of the Kingdom to which you invite our citizenship convicts our individual and collective consciences. By his sacrifice, you have shown us the breadth, depth and richness of your mercy, and have granted us forgiveness of all our sins. By the power of your Holy Spirit, instill in our hearts the grace of forgiveness toward others in our time and place – in our homes, in our churches, in our nation and in the world that you have loved. Help us to demonstrate your love, pursue peace and be agents of reconciliation. We pray in Christ’s name.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Israel/Palestine:
While there is still a residue of summer when life necessarily slows down in the Middle East, autumn in Israel and Palestine returns the full measure of activities to their normal pace. In fact, to a hyper pace: schools and universities re-opened three weeks ago; a series of festival celebrations including the Great Muslim Feast of al-Adħa, celebrated earlier this month, the Jewish New Year “Rosh ha-Shana” coming up this week, and later the Feast of Tabernacles “Sukkot,” the Feast of Contrition/Atonement “Yom Kippur,” then Purim, and Hanukah…
Heightened activity, celebrations, frantic shopping, commotion, traffic congestion, louder noise, tell us something. While there is an appearance of “normality,” beneath it all there are varieties of feelings: for some it is nonchalance; for others, it is restlessness, fear and anxiety, hopelessness, even futility. Many act as though there is no tomorrow. Some seek escape – the ubiquitous surfing of the Internet for many, chatting with virtual “friends;” cruising the streets; playing blaring “music;” resorting to acts of violence; indulgence in food, even in substance abuse; and, yes, emigration – we see it or hear about it frequently.
This has been the year of sad anniversaries: 50 years since the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River and Gaza, with an increased confiscation of land, expansion of colonies, diversion of water, hikes in food and fuel prices and increased taxation on imports; 100 years of the Balfour Declaration ceding the land to Israel (as if it had belonged to the British colonizers to give away!); the many thousands who lost their lives in wars and acts of violence.
In a previous year, we wrote: “Inaction of the international community is complicity, collusion. The Church here prays, yes; but it also actively calls for a just and durable peace, through negotiation and reconciliation. We are grateful to God for all who make it possible for us to be part of a community that exhibits love, offers active hope as its form of creative resistance, and promotes peace as the only remaining option.” Beyond whatever tasks we are called upon to perform, we affirm our higher call to be present and witness to God’s reconciling grace in Jesus Christ.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Victor and Sara 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 is jointly appointed with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serves the Diyar Consortium as a consultant for religion and state.
Sara Makari is jointly appointed with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serves the Diyar Consortium as editor of publications of Diyar.
Their appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.