two yellow flowers

This Holy Week in the Holy Land is an intersection of time: the overlapping holy days of Holy Week and Easter for Christians, Pesach for Jews, and Ramadan for Muslims. In Jerusalem and throughout Palestine and Israel, people raise their voices in prayer and praise to God, open their homes to family and friends, and walk through the hours with a greater awareness of Gods presence in the present.

Yet this time also intersects with the grief of the past and fears for the future: as more than 70 years of occupation continue, local Christians face growing harassment and threats from extremists; police trample on the grounds of Al-Aqsa and attack people at prayers; and government policies increasingly call into question what rights religious minorities may have in this land that is meant to be shared by three faiths that call it holy.

Yet the path Jesus walked in Jerusalem was no less fraught, no less political, no less certain. In fact, the powers and principalities of that time and place led Jesus to the cross, convincing almost all his friends and followers that their dream of Gods reign had died with him. And then came Easter morning, when the faithful women discovered an empty tomb and the impossible, joyful, world-changing good news: Jesus was risen!

Death itself was reversed, and the living word of God could not be destroyed by human power. Christians in the Holy Land today walk not only in the same land as the first Easter, but also in the same hope: that when all looks hopeless, God is faithful; and when all seems lost, God is with the people. May the justice and peace of Jesus Christ be born anew this Easter in us, and in the church around the world, to bear good news where it is most needed. Amen.