Wednesday, April 20, 2016

21/4/2016 English

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed “overwhelming frustration” with Israel’s government this week, saying that Netanyahu is steering Israel in the “wrong direction” if what they truly want is peace. Rather than a two-state solution, Biden says that settlement construction, land seizures, and legalizing outposts in Palestinian land are all creating a “one-state reality” which would be dangerous.

God of all, we rejoice that, yet again, someone in power has the eyes to see the reality that is on the ground here in Israel/Palestine. Give Biden’s voice strength to continue speaking out against these injustices, and give those around him the ears to hear the truth that he proclaims.

Lord, in your mercy…

UNESCO put forward a resolution last week condemning Israel’s illegal presence at sites located on Palestinian land, such as East Jerusalem, Hebron, and Bethlehem. The resolution states that ongoing illegal excavations, construction of roads for settlers, and other works by Israel harm the integrity of these sites, which are integral parts of Palestine. Israel has said they “totally reject” this resolution.

God of justice, though this resolution speaks truth and may bring positive change, it has also been followed by harsh criticism from those in power who stand to lose if past wrongs are made right. Send your spirit to those voting on these matters; give them the courage to do what is just.

Lord, in your mercy…

The Jewish holiday of Pesach, or Passover, begins this week, commemorating the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. In the midst of this holy remembrance though, we must also note that true liberation is that which liberates all: freedom gained at the expense of another people group is not real freedom. 

God of the slave and the free, we ask that you be with those who celebrate Pesach and the liberation granted by you from their captors. We ask also that you be with those, both here and around the world, who are still waiting for their liberation to come.

Lord, in your mercy…

Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos last week to show solidarity with Syrian refugees who are waiting there, essentially trapped with no permanent place to go. The Pope did not just visit though, but he also returned home to the Vatican with 12 Syrian refugees, composed of three Muslim families, offering them the opportunity to stay with him there.

God of hope, we lift up the work of your servant, Pope Francis, as he fully acts out the message of love and acceptance that he preaches. We pray for the lives of the 12 refugees who are starting a new life in the Vatican, and also for all those who are still awaiting refuge and safety.

Lord, in your mercy…

We pray alongside the World Council of Churches for the countries of Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan.

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