As we approach Easter in Palestine, my heart is heavy with the weight of the current situation. It is ironic that the place where Jesus came and taught what peace meant, is problematic and the opposite of peace. A place with three religions and two cultures, where no one is actually able to pray peacefully. When will it end?
The people of Palestine are facing immense challenges today. They are plagued by conflict, injustice, and suffering, just as Jesus himself faced during his time on earth. The biblical text that comes to mind is Psalm 22:1, where the psalmist cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Just as Jesus experienced abandonment and betrayal, the people of Palestine feel abandoned by the world, struggling for their basic rights, freedom, and dignity. Yet, just as Jesus' story did not end with his crucifixion, but rather with his resurrection, there is hope for Palestine as well. Easter reminds us that even in the midst of darkness, there is a promise of new life, a hope that transcends the current circumstances. It is only through Him we can achieve peace.
As we come to Easter in Palestine, we are reminded of the challenges and struggles that the people here face. We pray for those who are oppressed, for those who are suffering, and for those who have lost hope. Just as Jesus cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" we acknowledge the pain and anguish that the people of Palestine are enduring.
But we also remember the hope that Easter brings. Just as Jesus conquered death and rose again, we pray for the resurrection of peace, justice, and freedom in Palestine. We ask for strength, courage, and perseverance for those who are advocating for peace and standing up against injustice. May your love and mercy be a guiding light in the midst of darkness, and may your healing touch bring comfort and restoration to those who are hurting.
We pray for a better future for Palestine, where all people can live in peace and harmony, where justice prevails, and where the rights and dignity of every individual are respected. May your peace, which surpasses all understanding, fill the hearts and minds of the people in Palestine and bring about a transformation that leads to lasting peace.
In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Rev. Sally Azar, the first Palestinian Christian woman ordained in the Holy Land, is from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.