Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Each Thursday at noon in Jerusalem, Sabeel holds a Communion service that is open to the community. It is a time to join together to celebrate the Eucharist, to discuss how the scriptures apply to our lives today, and to pray for the specific needs of this region. Following the 2006 Sabeel International Conference, the Friends of Sabeel coordinators met and discussed the idea of "Waves of Prayer." The premise is that in their respective time zones, individuals and groups around the world will pray together at 12:00 on Thursdays, in solidarity with Sabeel in Jerusalem and with "Friends of Sabeel" worldwide. Starting in Australia, passing through Palestine, and on around the world we will pray for Peace with Justice and focus on specific issues each week.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Sunday, February 22, Um Kamel Al-Kurd's tent in Sheikh Jarrah was demolished for a fifth time by Israeli police and military forces. The Al-Kurd tent has become a test case for 29 homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. These homes are under eviction orders and the community faces constant and increasing harassment from Israeli settlers. We give thanks for the persistence of Um Kamel in the face of the Israeli judicial system and pray that she will quickly have proper shelter against the cold February weather. We pray that justice and a true peace can be found in East Jerusalem.

We pray for the people of East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood where 88 homes have received demolition orders. Israel is claiming the area is of historic and archaeological importance in order to justify its attempts at "relocating" nearly 1,500 Palestinians. We pray that news of this injustice will spark international and local outcry capable of stopping the bulldozers.

This week's news of Washington's resumption of dialogue with Damascus is a hopeful sign for the Middle East. We thank God that the United States has come to a new openness in its diplomatic relations. We pray that President Obama and Secretary Clinton and other US leaders will continue to engage frequently neglected voices in this region and will take American foreign policy in constructive directions.

We pray for comfort and safety for the scores of Palestinians rounded up in the West Bank by Israeli military forces. In Jayyous alone, 65 youth were arrested last Wednesday and a curfew was declared. Rarely are charges brought against such prisoners and they typically spend months and even years in "administrative detention" without access to a judicial system. The town of Jayyous organizes a weekly peaceful demonstration against the Separation Wall which cuts the villagers off from their fields. We pray that the recent arrests will not deter such nonviolent Palestinian resistance to the Israeli Occupation.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, February 19, 2009

We pray for comfort and strength for the Al-Kurd family of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem as their case is taken to court. The Al-Kurds were illegally evicted from their home last October. Their home and 29 others in Sheikh Jarrah are under eviction orders as Israeli settlers are moving into their homes. We pray that the expanding settlement enterprise within East Jerusalem will end.

We pray for safe travels and a warm reception for Rev. Naim Ateek as he begins a book launch tour in the United States. His two-week trip will take him to Washington, D.C.; Boston; Detroit; Chicago; and Atlanta to promote his new book, "A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation." We pray that through the launching of this book people can learn more about Palestine, Palestinian Christians, and the work of Sabeel.

We ask God to guide the current impasses in both the Israeli and Palestinian governments. The Israelis are facing a stalemate in the process of naming a prime minister and the Palestinians are attempting to soothe tensions between Fatah and Hamas. We pray that both nations can end their internal politicking so that negotiations for a just peace can continue uninterrupted.

We thank God for progress that is being made in the campaign to boycott and divest from companies that benefit from the Israeli Occupation. On February 12, Hampshire College became the first American college or university to divest from companies that enable the Occupation. Hampshire College was also the first college to divest from Apartheid South Africa. We pray that this is a harbinger of good news to come.

**Christian Aid is offering a Lenten "virtual pilgrimage" of the Holy Land. We encourage you to consider taking part in this. For more information, visit:

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