The escalation of violence continues here with some calling this a Third Intifada. Violence includes stabbings and extrajudicial killings, homes being demolished in record numbers, and whole villages closed for collective punishment. In the midst of all this the YWCA of Palestine is preparing its young delegates for two weeks in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women Conference which takes place every year. This year’s focus will highlight seven of the women who have been martyred since September in the West Bank or Occupied East Jerusalem. I am working on a short position paper for the group around the theme of security; how both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in security with freedom.
In addition, The YWCA of Palestine and others have asked for Lenten resources to go with the new advocacy project Breaking Down the Wall. In December this project was launched as a way to talk about how the physical Separation Barrier is impacting the lives of Palestinians especially farmers and women. The mini five piece olive wood wall comes with a booklet with facts and figures and ideas about how to use the Wall as part of educating others about its’ illegality. The Advent Reflections were so popular we were asked to create Lenten reflections.
The Lenten Reflection Guide is available online at www. ywca-palestine.org. I have written and edited a series of prayers and reflections based on the theme of “breaking” and the places in our sacred story that intersect with the physical Wall or the walls of prejudice, fear, and racism. The themes are the following:
- Breaking Expectations (Palm Sunday)
- Breaking Bread (Maundy Thursday)
- Breaking Bodies (Good Friday)
- Breaking Down (Holy Saturday)
- Breaking Open (Easter)
The following is poem/prayer which introduces the reader to the Reflection Guide. I invite you to support the YWCA of Palestine by accompanying us in our walk toward s peace and justice.
We invite you this Lenten season
of reflection, study, and repentance
to walk with us as we walk with Jesus
the Way of Suffering
to lives threatened with resurrection.
We invite you to accompany us
as we accompany them
those border crossers for justice
who seek and work for peace
who break down, break through, break open
all the walls that separate and segregate us,
break our bodies and spirits.
We invite you to accompany us
on the vigil that leads to resurrection
by facing those whose lives are constricted,
restricted, and targeted;
who ask you to stay awake and pray
stop the destruction of trees,
the demolishment of homes,
the burning of families and worship spaces,
the stabbings and the shootings.
We invite you to bear the cross
We invite you to live
with those dying daily
to see in them
Him calling out, weeping, rising up.
We invite you to join us
this Lenten season
in breaking down all the Walls
that divide us
in rolling away all the Stones
that entomb us.
We invite you to live lives threatened with resurrection.
*Inspired by Guatemalan poet Julia Esquival’s poem Threatened with Resurrection
Loren McGrail serves with the YWCA of Palestine as communications and advocacy offiicer. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.