“Joy is one of the pillars of our resilience,” says one Palestinian Christian in Bethlehem celebrating Palm Sunday. The Israeli government does give churches special permits for their people to go to Jerusalem during these Holy Days, but the permits are limited, and can be cancelled by the soldier at the checkpoint at his or her discretion. Sometimes, they just close down the checkpoints anyway, dependent upon the mood of the moment. This despite the fact that freedom of worship and access to holy places is a right under international law. It is so ironic to stand in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and watch the thousands upon thousands of Christians who have come from all over the globe to worship in Jerusalem when you know that fellow Christians living 5 miles away are not allowed the same right.
But these families in this video celebrate Palm Sunday in Bethlehem, and are proud and joyful because of it. Resilience and resistance come in many forms.
This Holy Week, we invite you to read along day by day with pilgrims who have been in the Holy Land who are blogging a mix of historical, holy occaisions and current day realities. There is a wealth of ideas, stories, photos, videos and important information about the situation today:
Pastor Loren McGrail, who served as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), focuses her writings on Jerusalem at http://agarmentofdestiny.blogspot.com/;
Pastor Jan Miller, at http://www.alentengeography.blogspot.com/, links to vital current information about the situation there.
Seminarian Chris Cowan, also a former EA in Hebron, shares detailed information about the recent exponential growth in threatened and actual home/structure/energy facility demolitions, especially in the Southern Hebron Hills area, and talks about the double whammy Palestinians are experiencing from ongling demolitions and expropriation of their land. Read her posts at http://christiarts.wordpress.com/.
Find other Holy Week resources at www.elca.org/peacenotwalls.
May we all strive and struggle for the things that make for peace with justice, just as we weep for those actions and policies that crucify it.