On Tuesday the 26th of July Israeli forces demolished 11 Palestinian homes in the town of Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, under the pretext of construction without permission. On the following day, Israel announced the approval of 323 tenders for housing units in East Jerusalem, and plans to build 770 units in the Gilo settlement which is constructed on confiscated land stolen from residents of Beit Jala and Bethlehem.
· Lord, we try to hear your word and act on it (Mathew 7:24). We build our homes on the rock but the Israeli bulldozers demolish them. The Israeli government builds settlements on our sand yet they stand. Lord, we have faith in you and in your word that you bring new life out of grief and loss. In your mercy, we pray that you will comfort all who have lost their homes and for all who are traumatized by this evil. We pray you will provide for them security, a place to live, neighbors they trust and the faith and hope that will sustain them: Lord in you mercy…
Anwar Salaymeh, 22 years old, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on July 13th while driving his car with two friends. His young wife, pregnant with their first child, said that Anwar was on his way to get her cookies which she was craving for, when the army “mistakenly” killed him and injured one of his friends.
· Loving God, welcome into your arms Anwar Salaymeh. Comfort his family and especially his wife. Help us Lord in our fear and uncertainty, and bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love. Strengthen all those who work for peace and renew our spirits with bold actions for creative nonviolent resistance that will in the end bring your peace to our troubled land: Lord in your mercy…
Pope Francis stated in Poland this past Sunday that it was wrong to identify Islam with violence and that social injustice and the idolatry of money and selfish consumption were among the prime causes of terrorism.
We are thankful that many Muslims attended Catholic mass on Sunday in places of worship across France and Italy in solidarity with the church and people of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy for the barbaric slaying of the elderly priest, Father Jacques Hamel by the so called “Islamic State”, as he was celebrating mass on Tuesday, July 26.
· Lord, although you told us to build bridges and cross borders we are often afraid. We give thanks for your children who refuse to give in to their fears and to be suspicious of their brothers and sisters. Help us learn to welcome You in the face of the other, and act as those embraced by your welcoming and enduring love. God of all nations, we pray that you will empower us with hope and faith that transforms evil and violence so that we will be humble but strong stewards of your peace-making, and live with a vision for a new community that embraces everyone as your daughters and sons; Lord in your mercy.
· We pray that our new Sabeel edition of the Cornerstone, titled “To Set the Captives Free” would reach many people around the world with your message of setting the prisoners and those consumed with destructive violence free and truly liberated, especially the children and all who are trapped in the vicious cycle of administrative detention, torture, and the dehumanization in the Israeli prison system. Lord, in your mercy..
· We pray alongside the World Council of Churches for the countries of the Caribbean*, Lord in your mercy…
*Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago .