Lectionary Selection: Acts 17:22–28
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
Almighty and living God, in whom we live and move and have our being, who has loved us and, in your Son Jesus, has adopted us and called us to be the extension of his reconciling work: we thank you for your church who, by the power of your Spirit, continues in the land called holy to witness to your love for all people. We confess that we are angered and often despairing in the face of unremitting hostilities; we behold terror flying by day and by night; we view untold destruction and devastation with no end in sight; we see the innocent suffer and die; we cry out: “how long, O Lord?”
Yet you have commanded us never to lose heart; for you are a God of justice and peace, and remain sovereign over all nations. You bring down the arrogant and the powerful from their thrones, and lift up the lowly. Your hand is not too short to save.
Have mercy on us. Forgive our complicity in the face of injustice. Speak sense to those who rage with vengeance. Help us to proclaim peace amid conflict, to live love amid hate and violence and, with our prayers and action, to mediate your reconciling grace.
In Christ’s name,
Mission Stewardship Moment from Israel/Palestine:
This message from Israel and Palestine is a call for an awakening of conscience. We are not sure what you are seeing on your TV sets, but what we witness here daily is nothing less than total devastation, even approaching genocide. Citing numbers is pointless, because every single human life – be it that of an Israeli or a Palestinian, a soldier or a freedom fighter, an infant in arms or a crippled old woman in a bombed home for the handicapped – every life of the handful killed on one side or the thousands on the other – is a precious soul in the sight of God. The war, to have been described by the more powerful as “moral” is appalling; nothing about it is moral. There is only destruction and death. The image of an 11-story building collapsing recalls that of the crumbling twin towers in New York. One was called “terrorism,” the other is labeled “self-defense.” This is lunacy, as one American Jew has called it. Who could not think it insane, brazen inhumanity? Assigning blame leads only to a dead end. Everyone loses.
Inaction of the international community is complicity, collusion. The Church here prays, yes; but it also calls and works for a just and durable peace. Peace is the fruit of justice. Only then is reconciliation possible, however distant it may appear.
Our work is with the Diyar Consortium. Diyar is the plural of the Arabic word “dar” that means “home,” “house,” “household,” and “homeland.” It is the equivalent of the Greek word “oikos,” that suggests “community,” “ecumenical.” Diyar Consortium serves the whole Palestinian community with an emphasis on children, youth and women. Contextual and holistic in nature, the organization’s programs include education; leadership formation and development; civic engagement; identity reinforcement through art, culture, music, theater and dance, sports (especially for women); authentic tourism; book publishing and media productions. Founded in 1995 as the International Center of Bethlehem, Diyar launched Dar Al-Kalima University College for Arts and Culture in 2006, and regularly holds regional and international conferences. The Consortium serves several thousands of members and reaches more than 60,000 persons annually.
The vision of Diyar is: “That All May Have Life and Have It Abundantly.”
We are grateful to God for all who make it possible for us to be part of a community that exhibits love, offers hope as its form of creative, active resistance, and promotes peace.
A permanent peace is the only remaining option.
Mission Partners in Israel/Palestine:
- Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem
The Consortium includes the International Center of Bethlehem, Guest House, Civic Engagement Program, the Religion & State Program, Dar al-Kalima University College for Arts and Culture, Diyar Publishing, plus a variety of community, regional and international programs and activities. www.diyar.ps
- East Jerusalem YMCA (Palestine)
- Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
- 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:
Global Ministries Missionaries in Israel/Palestine:
Rev. Victor Makari, a member of Highland Presbyterian Church (USA), Louisville, Kentucky, is jointly appointed with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA) and serves with our Mission Partner, the Diyar Consortium (of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land as Regional Consultant for the Religion and State in the Middle East. His appointment is supported by Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.
Sara Makari, a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Mercer, Pennsylvania, is jointly appointed with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA) and serves our Mission Partner, the Diyar Consortium (of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land as editor of publications of Diyar. Her appointment is supported by Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.