Lectionary Selection: John 15:26-27:16:4b-15
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
Come Comforter, Holy Spirit, Love Divine: descend upon your people – Israelis and Palestinians – in this land. Reveal to them a new vision of reconciliation amid conflict, and open before them new paths for peace. Uphold their pursuits of justice and righteousness in the face of violations against their humanity. Fortify their courage and tenacity for hope when despair assaults them and frustrates their quest for the promise of abundant life. Pour out your grace upon them to overcome evil with good. And, help us all –individually and collectively – as a Church, and as a nation - to be instruments of your grace and channels of your peace. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Israel/Palestine:
My father, the late Kenneth Bailey, who in his retirement dedicated his full time to writing, enjoyed building a good fire on cold, northwestern Pennsylvania evenings. Having had the privilege of editing his writings on New Testament studies, I often thought that, as he sat in front of the fireplace, getting up frequently to turn the wood or stoke the embers, his thought process was consciously or subliminally ignited by the Pentecost image of tongues of flame. He always said that his career of teaching and writing was for the upbuilding of the Church that was born of the fire of the Spirit.
Today, the Church worldwide celebrates Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit that has given her birth, her existence, her life. And, that first happened here, in Jerusalem. Principally for that reason, Jerusalem has become a non-negotiable spiritual home for all of Christendom and a continually rightful abode for Christians. The Spirit also empowers and enables these to be peacemakers among all who dwell here.
- The Day of Pentecost has been a flame in the living memory of successive generations of Jerusalemite and other Palestinian Christians. It was the fulfillment of the promise that has “fired up” the Church’s prophetic visions and inspired its dreams. This Spirit is the continuation of Christ’s presence in the Church, empowering her – here and now – for witness and service. As the fire exists by burning, the Church exists by self-giving in mission.
- The descent of the Holy Spirit continues to function as a source of solace, support and encouragement for the Church in the face of overwhelming challenges. The Spirit is named “the Comforter,” – “com-” meaning “with,” or “together with,” and “fort” meaning “strength.” Christ gives his people strength, accompanying them along their journey of faith.
- The Comforter is also the “Spirit of Truth,” (John 15:26) – the One who points to, guides toward and reveals and teaches the “whole truth” (John 16:13), especially when the world opts for selective truth, manipulates truth, and twists truth to its advantage.
- The ever-present Comforter – the Spirit of Truth – convicts the world of sin, e., does not let the world get away with lies and with abandoning the ways of God (John 16:8). The Spirit witnesses to the justice/righteousness of Christ and condemns the principal of this world, liar and father of lies (vv. 10-11).
- The Comforter glorifies Christ (v. 14). The Spirit thus upholds and uplifts His supreme commandment: the law of love, and the goals of his reign: the standard of justice and the blessing of shalom/salaam/wholeness/ peace.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by 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 Israael/Palestine: https://www.globalministries.org/israel_palestine
Global Ministries Mission Coworker in Israel/Palestine:
Sara Makari, member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Mercer, PA, is jointly appointed with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serves the Diyar Consortium as editor of publications of Diyar. Make a gift that supports the work of Sara Makari.