WCC-EAPPI Easter Initiative 2022
Pray and act for the peace of Jerusalem: The sacred ground of Jerusalem should be protected for all people sharing the city, irrespective of religious or national identity. We call on church leaders and elected representatives worldwide to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to take meaningful action to stop forced displacement, violence and intimidation in Jerusalem, and to support work towards an end to the occupation and a just peace for all people in Palestine and Israel.
- Home is sacred
- Worship is Sacred
- Family is Sacred
- Identity Is Sacred
- Human Dignity and Life Is Sacred
- Solidarity Is Sacred
God’s justice includes a safe and secure home for all people. During generations of exile in Babylon, the people of God turned to the words of Isaiah to comfort them with promises of home. Isaiah spoke of home not only as something from the past that was lost but also as a future reality, grounded in justice, righteousness, and peace. Home is a human right and something people around the world hold sacred. As Palestinians cry out for a homeland and for safe and secure homes, we reflect on God’s promises of home in every place, for every people.
God’s justice allows all people to worship God freely. Jerusalem is a sacred city for three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of whom worship the God of Abraham. Isaiah, recognized as a prophet by all three faiths, declares in this biblical text that the house of God is meant to be “a house of prayer for all peoples.” The multi-faith identity of Jerusalem and of Israel and Palestine as a whole is recognized by the state of Israel as well as the Palestinian community. However, despite Israel’s stated commitment to supporting freedom of worship for all three faiths, the reality is that access to worship is unequal, and significant obstacles exist for Christian and Muslim Palestinians who seek to worship in their sacred places. This year, as the Jewish observance of Pesach/Passover, Christians’ Holy Week and Easter, and the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims overlap, it is more important than ever to advocate for safe and secure access to worship for all residents of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
God’s justice includes healthy families and communities. Families and communities exist to care for and support every generation, from the new-born child to the eldest member. Families and communities give us identity, teach us to live and love, and offer us a purpose and a place of belonging. Yet internal and external forces—war and violence, poverty, and disaster—can threaten families and communities. When families are separated, as many Palestinian families are, the whole community suffers. This is not God’s will. We are called to work together to build healthy families and communities for Palestinians and Israelis and for all people.
Each and every person has an identity. We may find our identity inherited from family or faith, or both. Christians believe that our identity is sacred because each of us is made in God’s image and given gifts and a purpose in the world. Yet even beyond the claims of faith, identity should be held and treated as sacred. While we may think of identity as a human trait, identity is not limited to the identity of people. Places and cities also have identities—such as Jerusalem, a city with a unique and sacred identity.
Human dignity and life are not only sacred—in fact, respect for human life and dignity is a baseline for our humanity. As Palestinians, the word “dignity” reflects many aspects of life: our way of living, pride and commitment in our work, and a reputation of integrity and uprightness among everyone who knows us. However, when Palestinians are made to cross checkpoints or borders and treated with disrespect and even violence, we are literally de-humanized. The occupation threatens our sacred human right to life with dignity.
As Christians, we recognize that we are called to love God and to love our neighbours. Love for others cannot be limited to the level of speaking nice words; our love must extend to serious actions. Solidarity is sacred because it is the result of caring and responsible love. Solidarity is the kind of love that Jesus showed and that Jesus calls us to share with one another.
Jerusalem is sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews. During high holidays like Easter, the holy month of Ramadan and Pessach, all of which overlap in 2022, this sacredness can be felt by locals and visitors alike. But the sacredness of the Holy City and its inhabitants is increasingly threatened by consequences of the ongoing occupation, such as discrimination and violence. In December 2021, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued a strong statement urging the international community to take up meaningful action to advocate for a Jerusalem without violence and intimidation, and for the preservation of the multi-faith identity of Jerusalem.
Through this year’s Easter Initiative, WCC-EAPPI seeks to connect the sacredness of Jerusalem with what is sacred to us as human beings: home, family, worship, identity, human dignity and life, and solidarity. The Easter Initiative takes a look at how the sacredness of Jerusalem and its inhabitants is threatened today, shedding light on human rights violations that occur in Jerusalem and that are detrimental to the character of Jerusalem as the City of Peace for people of different religious and national backgrounds. We also highlight the steadfastness of people living in the city and lift up initiatives that invite people to stand in solidarity with those suffering from violence, intimidation and the prolonged occupation.