Thursday, June 17, 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, June 17, 2010

In the wake of the flotilla disaster, pressure to lift the siege on Gaza continues to grow from all over the world. We pray that against all odds, the rising tide of international consciousness and the spirit of nonviolence will prevail, and the blockade of Gaza will finally be lifted.

Today Sabeel celebrates the inauguration of Friends of Sabeel France. Friends in France have been active in the pursuit of justice and peace for years already, but today they become a registered organization. We thank God for their service and pray many more in France will be inspired to seek peace and pursue it.

This week, Sabeel will be convening a regional workshop in Bethlehem for Christian and Muslim clergy to brainstorm ways of fostering mutual respect and understanding between our faith communities. We pray this initiative will encourage the Palestinian community to work together for a just peace.

Today the Sabeel Study Circle will meet with Mark Braverman, a Jewish-American clinical psychologist who now devotes himself to the cause of peace in historic Palestine. We give thanks for committed people like Mark and their courageous witness for truth and peace, and we pray for God's blessings on their work.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:


Wave of Prayer for Thursday, June 10, 2010

Following Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, there are calls for an independent investigation into the events that transpired. Thus far, Israel refuses to participate in such an inquiry. We pray that any investigation will be independent and fair, rather than another tool of misinformation. "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Sabeel board member, Jean Zaru, has been awarded the Anna Lindh Memorial Fund Prize. The committee recognized that, "During her entire life, Jean Zaru has chosen non-violence to resist the oppression under which she lives. Non-violence because it exposes and challenges the structural violence on all levels. Non-violence because it makes the oppressors realize that they, too, are victims of the violence they impart." We thank God for Jean's work and pray that others will be inspired to stand courageously and work lovingly for justice.

As summer vacations begin, more tourists are traveling to Israel and Palestine. May these groups be inspired to seek out the stories and the people that they do not normally encounter. We pray that they will have their eyes opened to the need for a just peace in this land.

In recent days, scores of important religious, political and civil society groups have spoken forcefully about the need to lift the siege on Gaza. People who are often quiet are silent no more. We pray that this momentum will build into a political force capable of toppling the siege and ending the Israeli military occupation in Palestine. May we all recognize our individual roles in the work of justice.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for:

Angola, Mozambique

Sabeel's Litany for Gaza

In the early morning, on May 31, 2010, Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla of 6 ships bound for the Gaza Strip, carrying nearly 700 people and a cargo of medical supplies, pre-fabricated homes, building supplies, and educational materials. The ships were attempting to break the internationally condemned Israeli blockade that, since June 2007, has prevented virtually all people and goods from entering or exiting the Gaza Strip (with the exception of insufficient humanitarian supplies and some aid workers). As the Israeli forces boarded the ships, at least 9 flotilla participants were killed while nearly 60 participants and 10 soldiers were injured. Eventually, all the ships were rerouted and the flotilla participants were arrested or deported. The siege on Gaza continues.

Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem will hold a day of fasting and prayer on Monday, June 7, for the members of the flotilla, the people of Gaza, and for peace in Palestine and Israel. This litany is offered as a resource for individuals and congregations to use, in part or in whole. It can be adapted and read by 2 or 3 voices. We encourage pastors to use the litany in their Sunday services.

Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. [Jeremiah 9:23-24]

Eternal God, arbiter of justice and champion of peace, reach into the deep pit of violence, despair, and ruthlessness that shapes the lives of so many in Palestine and Israel. The nations are in an uproar, kingdoms totter, people cry out.

You, O God, are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. [Matthew 5:9]

Grant, O God, healing to the men and women injured during the Israeli military assault. Bring grace and consolation to those who mourn the dead.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled.

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. [Hebrews 13:3]

God who has proclaimed release to the captives and freedom to the oppressed, may all who have been taken prisoner for their involvement in the flotilla return safely home. We remember these and others who are unjustly detained.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, who has sent me to proclaim release to the captives...and to let the oppressed go free.

"Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." [Psalm 46:10]

Lord of all, make known to all in Palestine and Israel that your love extends to all people, that might is not right, that fear begets fear, that love conquers all. Give hope to the many who, in love, speak and act boldly for justice.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. [Jeremiah 6:13-14]

God of Justice, we pray that the nations of the world will no longer stand idly by, but uphold the rights of the oppressed in Gaza, the West Bank, and around the globe . We, the peoples of many lands, "reaffirm [our] faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." [UN Charter: Preamble]

Your judgements are just, O Lord, you will hold all nations accountable for what they have done, and also for what they have left undone.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of justice will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. [Isaiah 32:16-18]

God who offers life in abundance, break the chains of injustice that shackle the people of Gaza. May the blockade that limits food and medicine, toys and cement, culture and trade, friendships and families be swiftly ended. May the people of Gaza and of the West Bank be brought together in unity.

They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. For like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. [Isaiah 65]

"In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." [Matthew 7:12]

God of equity, who knows no distinction between race or creed or colour, help us to be ever impatient in our encounter with injustice and abuse. As ambassadors for Christ, do not allow our hearts to be hardened, but let us live your message of justice, peace and reconciliation.

God, in your grace, transform the world.

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