Lectionary Selection: Luke 3:7-18
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
God Who Hears the Cries of the Oppressed, bring relief to all in the world who suffer the political ruthlessness of a Tiberius, Pilate or Herod, to all who suffer the self-serving religious indifference of an Annas or Caiaphas.
Move the faithful in churches, synagogues and mosques, along with people of good will, to prepare your way, to fill every valley with justice, to level every mountain of greed, to make straight the crooked and to smooth the rough places in the world—and in us.
God, in those times when I’m left without words to pray, hear my sighs. But let neither my lack of words nor my sighs keep me from rising up to love and serve you by loving and serving others. In the name of the One who, for our sake, kept faith, hope and love under occupation. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Israel/Palestine:
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius… (Luke 3:1-2).” Luke isn’t locating the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus on the calendar.
Luke is mixing politics and religion. He is signaling, as he does in Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46ff), that the life and ministry of Jesus will challenge the politics and the religion of his day.
In 2009, Palestinian Christians across a wide theological continuum released the document, Kairos Palestine. Reminiscent of the 1980s call from South African Christian leaders who challenged the legitimacy of the official “state theology” called Apartheid, the document describes the reality on the ground in Palestine: the effects of a harsh occupation; the refusal of decision-makers to commit themselves to the serious task of finding a resolution; and the deepening economic, environmental and cultural crisis in Palestine. Our sisters and brothers in Palestine implore us to confront Christian Zionism, a heretical theology that denies the rights and harms the lives of our Palestinian Christian family and their Muslim neighbors.
On our alternative tours to Palestine and Israel, my wife Janet and I introduce pilgrims to our Global Ministries mission partners: B’Tselem (a Jewish NGO documenting Israeli human rights abuses in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza); Rawdat el-Zuhur (an elementary school in Jerusalem); the Friends Meeting in Ramallah; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Old City of Jerusalem and many others. Each person we meet expresses his or her faith in God by working for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Our gifts are helping to make it happen.
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