Lectionary Selection: John 20:1-18
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
Gracious God, our Heavenly Father, by the resurrection of your beloved Son, Jesus our Lord, you have turned sadness into joy, doubt into faith, anxiety into peace, darkness into light, and despair into hope.
We pray today for our neighbors in Palestine and Israel who work unceasingly for justice and peace but feel continually defeated by hopelessness, and cannot see light beyond the tunnels of mounting injustice and oppression. Grant them the fortitude not only to endure but to persist in seeking and pursuing those things that make for a just peace. Deliver all your children from the powers of evil that generate prejudice, hatred, racism, social disorder, violence, and a life less abundant for all.
We pray especially for those who are crushed by systems of injustice, those who are stripped of their human rights, those unemployed or deprived of a decent living, those who are marginalized, those coping with depression or fighting addiction, and others who turn to violence as a form of resistance. We pray also for those acting out an attitude of chosenness or supremacy and, by so doing, they disregard your image in their fellow-human beings. Lord, have mercy.
We pray, too, for political leaders in our region, in our own land, and around the world many of whom may be driven by their own lust for power and are blinded to needs of the people they are called to serve. Touch their hearts and show them the way of your Son who came and lived to proclaim liberty to the captive, to heal the broken-hearted, to bring good news to the poor, and to give sight to the blind. May the victory of your love manifest in the resurrection of our Lord deepen our own faith and empower our living hope to serve you with determination and courage, and to live out the prayer we often utter: “Your kingdom come!”
Mission Stewardship Moment from Israel/Palestine:
Have you ever been in a situation where you thought things cannot get worse, and then they do? We see this happening in the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. He had already been hung on the cross. Dying, he said he was thirsty; a sponge soaked in vinegar was held to his mouth. “It is finished,” he said and died. Could part of what he was saying have been, “Enough!”?
Yet enough was not enough. Already he had endured the trial before Pilate, the demonstrations and insults of the crowds, the way to the cross, the gruesome hanging with criminals on either side. Already dead on the cross, the soldiers stripped Jesus even of his clothes and divided them among themselves. Was that enough? They were about to break the bones of his legs to make sure he would die, only to discover that he was already dead. Was that enough? No! One of them then pierced his side with a spear to spill his blood.
As all of this was happening, Jesus’ spirit was repeatedly crying out, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”
Those who were witnessing the gruesome tragedy knew Jesus had died. It is finished, they thought. For them, that was the end of the story. Sad and broken, they accepted reality and made preparations for his burial.
So it is with any life situation when there seems to be absolutely no hope. But John 20:1-18, teaches us this essential Christian lesson: The status quo is NOT the end of the story. The Disciples “had not yet known” the promise of the Scriptures (v. 9). Even Mary, looking at the Risen Jesus, “did not know that he was Jesus” (v. 14.).
Believe the good news of the gospel: CHRIST IS RISEN! We too shall rise with him! Alleluia! Let us, therefore, invest our “alleluias” in living and serving as the people of the Resurrection.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Sara Makari
Mission Partners in Israel/Palestine:
- Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees
- 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: https://www.globalministries.org/israel_palestine
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Israel/Palestine:
Sara Makari serves with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with the Diyar Consortium of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.