Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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, April 15, 2010

A recently revealed Israeli military order that goes into effect this week, allows for the deportation and eviction from the West Bank of tens of thousands of people. Palestinians born in Gaza, foreign-born spouses of Palestinians, and international activists are likely to be the primary targets of the policy but the ambiguous wording puts nearly the entire population of the West Bank at risk. We pray that this injustice is stopped before families and communities are torn apart. For more information, see or

April 17th marks "Prisoners Day" in Palestine. On this day we remember the nearly 8,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli jails-including the 259 people being held in "administrative detention" without charge or trial and 337 minors (41 of whom are under the age of 16). Currently, many prisoners are enduring a hunger strike in order to raise awareness about the poor conditions in which they are kept. We pray that their message will be heard by those in positions of power. May they find comfort and justice.

This week marks a time of transition for Friends of Sabeel-UK. Anne Clayton will assume the role of coordinator from Jennifer Oldershaw. We are very grateful for Jennifer's 5 years of dedicated service and are excited to work with Anne in the years to come. We offer thanks to God for the witness of Friends of Sabeel-UK and other Friends of Sabeel chapters around the globe.

As the English-speaking Sabeel Witness Visit and the Dutch Sabeel Witness come to an end, we pray for the dozens of participants who will soon return home to share what they experienced. May they find powerful ways of communicating to their families and friends about the need for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:
Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan

Sabeel Easter Message
30 March 2010

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus witnessed to the truth before religious and political leaders prior to his crucifixion and death. Two statements stand out from that encounter:

To the guard that struck Jesus on the face before the high priest Annas, Jesus replied, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" (18:23); and to the Roman Governor Pilate, Jesus said, "For this I was born, for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice"(18:37).

In the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, the Israeli establishment has successfully manipulated the truth, distorted the facts, and fabricated myths about the origins of the conflict and the reality of life under occupation. Israel then fed this propaganda to people around the world. Falsehood has been sold as truth.

Recently, some world leaders have been discovering the extent of Israeli manipulation. Could we be approaching a decisive time in the conflict when the truth, the reality, and the facts are becoming so transparent they cannot be ignored anymore? The foundations of injustice and oppression are shaking. It is time for all of us to stand up and be courageous witnesses to truth and justice which can be the bases for a genuine peace.

In the Passion narrative, Jesus challenges those who would ignore or suppress the truth and stands firm in his witness and commitment to the truth. It is an important lesson for our political and religious leaders. It is equally a message for all of us who continue to witness and to confront the reality of the injustice and oppression of the Israeli occupation. To speak truth to power is the heritage of all faithful believers.

At this Easter season, inspired by our risen and living Christ, let us pray for courage: courage to witness to truth and courage to work for its vindication in the ending of the occupation and the establishment of a just peace that will embrace all the people of our land.

The truth will set us free.

Happy Easter to all.

Naim Ateek
Sabeel Jerusalem

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