Service for Christian Unity,
Thursday, June23rd, 2022
Life and hope in a hopeless situation
People ask me if I am optimistic or pessimistic about this Palestinian-Israeli conflict which is so complex, and I always answer that I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but full of hope. My hope does not come from Washington, Berlin, London or Paris – it comes from the heart of Jerusalem and the empty tomb.
The story of Easter, the power of the cross and the resurrection that was manifested in Jerusalem is the only source of our hope. On the Via Dolorosa, Jesus encountered all the dark forces that we know today in the Middle East. He sacrificed himself so that we can hope and we can trust in his power. We will not allow extremism, oppression, violence, bloodshed, hatred, walls, demolitions, settlements or land confiscations to diminish our hope and lead us to give in to despair. The hope of living with dignity, justice and reconciliation will triumph over the dark forces that we face.
This is the power of the cross today. This is the hope of Christians in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land. This is the task of the universal Church: to work with love and tenderness to protect the life and the human rights in every nation. As long as the Church of Christ in every land, especially the Holy Land, assumes this responsibility with the spirit of Easter, every believer will be filled with hope.
I pray that this hope keeps your heart and mind turned to Jesus Christ, our Lord, despite what the world throws your way. It is Saint Paul who tells us in the epistle to the Romans: “And hope does not deceive, for the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5.5)
Munib Younan, born in Jerusalem, was president of the Lutheran World Federation from 2010 to 2017. He is a Palestinian bishop emeritus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
Prepared by our brothers and sisters in Nazareth, Holy Land
To be used as appropriate
In unity with our brothers and sisters of the Community in Nazareth in the Holy Land and in the deep desire for Unity between our Churches, we turn to You, Lord, and we pray to You.
1 / On June 17, an ecumenical meeting took place in Nazareth on the theme “the challenges of the family”. As in many places in the world, Christian Arab families in Nazareth and the Holy Land must face the evolution of society. The place of the Christian family was at the heart of the discussions.
Lord, with your grace and with the intercession of the Holy Family, couples and families grow in love, drawing ever closer to you. May love, strengthened by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, be stronger than all the weaknesses and all the crises that our families sometimes experience.
2/In the Holy Land where Jews, Christians and Muslims rub shoulders in a climate of tension and constant clashes, men and women of dialogue rise to build paths of peace.
Lord, we entrust you with the development project of the souk of Nazareth, where young people and adults try to facilitate dialogue between the three religions inhabitants of Galilee.
We also put the mission of our new Catholic bishop for Israel, his lordship Rafic Nahra in your hands. Lord, give each of them the courage to remain in their missions and protect them in the risks they take. May their work bear fruit in mutual understanding, peace, and reconciliation.
3/ The Institute of Chemin Neuf will celebrate its 30th anniversary on the feast of the Nativity of St Jean Baptiste.
Lord, we give you thanks for how far we have come. We entrust you all the brothers of the Institute so that they can be further rooted in you and face the challenges of this world with courage and hope.
We pray to you especially for our brothers who will be ordained and those who will make a commitment for life on June 25 in Ars.