Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Each week at 12:00 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. Our hope is that in our 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 continuing on around the world we pray for Peace with Justice and focus on specific issues each week.

Wave of Prayer, Thursday, 23th of April, 2009

We thank God for a Holy Week in Jerusalem that was marked by relatively good relations across denominations. We are grateful for the cooperation of the churches. But we are also saddened by the increased Israeli military presence within Jerusalem during the Eastern Orthodox Holy Week. We pray that next year will witness fewer checkpoints so that Palestinian Christians can join pilgrims in praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

As the world marks the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide this week, we pray that genocide will never happen again.

We thank God for the apparent commitment by American officials to a Palestinian state. Recent talks have highlighted this as a primary goal of the United States’ Middle East policy. We pray that this can swiftly and peacefully become a reality.

This week has already witnessed several home demolitions in East Jerusalem. We pray that the world will take note of this unjust and illegal Israeli practice. May we not allow the frequency of such injustice to cause us to become numb. We are grateful for the solidarity of international figures like Mairead Maguire who spoke in Silwan this week.

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, April 9, 2009

Currently, Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims from around the world participating in Holy Week activities. We pray that they will find their faith renewed and emboldened through these experiences. May they return home with a new appreciation for Christ's radical message and for the hope that we find in the Resurrection.

Many Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank applied for permits to participate in Holy Week activities in Jerusalem. Last week it was announced that a small but significant number of permits were approved. Unfortunately, this week it was announced that a closure of the entire West Bank is in effect until April 18, the end of the Jewish Passover. We pray that the Christians of the West Bank will have a blessed Easter season in spite of this injustice. We also pray that all Palestinians will soon regain their freedom of movement and their access to Jerusalem.

We pray for the Hanoun and Al-Ghawi families of Sheikh Jarrah who continue to struggle with the Israeli High Court over their right to remain in their homes. In spite of original land deeds dating to the Ottoman Empire that establish their ownership, the Court threatens to evict the families and turn their homes over to settlers. We pray for comfort and strength for the Hanouns, the Al-Ghawis, and the hundreds of other families in East Jerusalem whose homes are slated for eviction or demolition.

This month, Sabeel's longtime partner, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) welcomes its 31st team of accompaniers to the region. Since its founding by the World Council of Churches in 2002, EAPPI has sent approximately 550 people from many countries to serve 3-month terms as human rights observers and to support local non-violent resistance to the Occupation. We thank God for this program and the important connections that it creates between this region and communities around the globe.

Don't forget to join Christian Aid's Lenten Pilgrimage as it focuses on Jerusalem this week. And don't miss Rev. Naim Ateek's Easter prayer, this Sunday at

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