Thursday, July 23, 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, July 23, 2009

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied international pressure to halt settlement construction in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu also expressed opposition to sharing Jerusalem with a future Palestinian state. We pray for a change of heart in Israel's leaders, that they will recognize the need to justly share this land.

The ongoing tension and fighting between Hamas and Fatah diverts from efforts to end the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. We pray that Palestinian leaders will reconcile so that they may demonstrate real leadership in the pursuit of lasting peace.

As Rev. Naim Ateek's book tour in the United States enters its final week, we thank God for the work of the many people who have volunteered their time to help organize and facilitate his many speaking engagements. We pray that these final lectures will motivate people to work for peace and seek reconciliation.

In the coming two weeks, forty young adults from Palestine and around the world will gather in Jerusalem to participate in the fourth annual Sabeel international Young Adult Conference. May their time of pilgrimage and learning inspire them to pursue peace with justice in Palestine and Israel and in all conflicts around the globe.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:
Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, July 16, 2009

It has been half a year since Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip and the siege of 1.5 million people continues. We pray that construction supplies, medicine, fuel, and other goods necessary for life will be allowed to flow into Gaza. While attempting to deprive Gazans of their dignity, Israel has lost its own.

Five years ago this month, the International Court of Justice released its Advisory Opinion on the "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories". This opinion detailed the court's findings that the Wall violated Israel's obligations under international law, that the Wall should be removed, and that Israel ought to lift its travel restrictions on Palestinians. Today, construction of the Wall continues and Israel's restrictions on Palestinians have only intensified. We pray that Israel will stop treating international law with such disdain.

Because of Israel's conduct during January's attack of Gaza, the United Kingdom has revoked five export licenses for military equipment intended for the Israeli navy. Compared to the entirety of Israel's arms agreements, these five licenses are miniscule, but they do represent the establishment of an important precedent. We praise God for this small but meaningful step toward international accountability for Israel's war crimes.

On Friday, Sabeel will bring people from Nazareth and Jerusalem to see the challenges facing Palestinian citizens of Israel who live in Akko and Shefa-'Amr. In these (and other) Arab-majority cities within Israel, the state of Israel practices systematic discrimination through land dispossession and unequal distribution of resources. We pray that the frequently overlooked population of Palestinian citizens of Israel will soon experience justice that "rolls on like a mighty river."

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama

Wave of Prayer for Thursday, July 9, 2009

On Monday, the Israeli High Court of Justice extended the order preventing nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu from leaving Jerusalem, speaking with foreigners, or approaching foreign embassies. Recently, the court has also dropped charges against Israeli settlers videotaped beating Palestinians. Such incidents demonstrate the court's deep flaws and its lack of power to stand up to Israeli political pressure. We pray for the establishment of a court system that respects all people equally.

This week the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Anaheim, California. Several pieces of legislation related to Palestine/Israel will be discussed and brought up for votes. We praise God that these issues are being taken up at the denominational level and pray that, whatever the final form of the legislation, it will advocate for justice as the foundation for peace.

Next Monday, groups around the world will be taking actions to raise awareness of the home evictions and house demolitions being conducted by Israel in Palestine. In solidarity with residents of the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and the Old City, activists will set up tents (the symbol of displaced Palestinians) outside of Israeli embassies in cities across the globe. We pray that these nonviolent protests will draw helpful attention to Israel's policies of displacement.

We pray for inspiration and creativity for the young adults from Ramallah and Jerusalem who have recently volunteered to help in planning Sabeel's young adult activities for the coming months. These activities bring together young Christians from various denominations to participate in Bible studies, lectures, and volunteer work.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:
Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela

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