Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pray Today for Peace and Jerusalem Easter statement

This immediate request for prayer comes from Churches for Middle East Peace. Below you'll find the Easter statement of the Jerusalem Heads of Churches.

From CMEP: Pray Today for Peace
In late April the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold its quarterly open debate on the Middle East. The focus of discussion will likely be whether the Quartet—comprised of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States—has been able to achieve sufficient impetus to have the Israeli-Palestinian peace process move in a positive direction. In preparation for that discussion the Quartet meets today in Washington, DC.  

As people of faith, on this occasion we ask you to pray for peace and for God to make a way where no way has been found.  

CMEP offers the prayer below.

A Prayer for Peace on the Occasion of the April 11, 2012 Quartet Meeting

When your people quarrel and cannot find a way, you become the way.
     God, have mercy on us, your quarrelsome people.

When we fear that all we can do can never be enough, you become enough for us.
     Jesus, give your hope to us, your struggling people.

When we don’t do all that we could do, you call us to move forward.
     God, have mercy on us, your timid people.

When we dare to try once again to be the peacemakers you call us to be, you move among us.
     Jesus, give your strength to us, your tenacious people.  

For people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank who suffer the shock of past violence and fear future violence,
     Give safety and comfort to your hurting people.

For people who work for peace yet see the increase of sorrow and despair,
     Sustain their perseverance and vision.

For people who generate violence and injury,
     Show them the better way of Your justice, mercy and faithfulness.

For people who sit at tables and talk of things with which others must live,
     Fill their hearts with love of neighbor and compassion for strangers.  

We pray for national and international leaders meeting this day in Washington, D.C.:
     Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
     Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State,
     General Ban Ki-moon, General-Secretary of the United Nations, and
     Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia.

We pray also for the Israeli and Palestinian national leaders:
     Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, and
     Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel.

Generous God, give them persistence, wisdom and vision.
Give them love and compassion for all God's children.  

You, oh God, change hearts of stone into flesh,
     beat weapons into plows,
     give hope in the midst of despair.

May the fulfillment of your justice, mercy and faithfulness come.
May your call for peace be ever apparent in our words and actions.
You, oh God, who create Easter people,
Hear our prayers.


May the peace of Christ be with you, and all people, this and every day.   Rev. Doris E. Warrell, CMEP

The Easter Message of the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem

We, the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land, bring you our Easter greetings from Jerusalem, the City of the Resurrection, hope, and peace. 

Every year The Feast of the Resurrection revisits the church, the holy people of God everywhere. The faithful, through their Lenten journey and pilgrimage, walk in faith toward the empty tomb so that they may be filled with grace through the Risen and Triumphant Lord. The message of Easter speaks through the living church in the here and now; through their hopes and fears, joys and sorrows.  

The people of God, the “Living Stones” of the holy lands, anticipate through prayer and fasting to behold the joys and victories of the Risen and Triumphant Lord Jesus Christ. Christians in the region are continuously walking in the ‘Way of the Cross’. Injustice, oppression, incitement and subjugation are evil powers that require our diligent prayers and intentional advocacy. Our hearts are drawn in intercession for peace based on justice toward the people of Palestine and Israel, respect of human rights in Syria, Egypt, and the rest of the Middle East.

Reconciliation and Peace are the ultimate consequence and fruition of the Resurrection. Peace is no mere Easter greeting, but a call upon the church to strive for justice, equality, and reconciliation among all nations and peoples. We call upon the leaders of the nations to empower the peacemakers within their communities and countries, so that a generation of peace may arise and the light of peace may shine from this region to the whole world.

Our celebration of the Resurrection is the joy of the light that shines on in the darkness, and our hope for the whole world is to be aglow with the radiance of God’s peace and life. As an Easter hymn goes: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch
 +Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch
 +Patriarch Torkom II Manoogian, (Archbishop Nourhan Manoogian, Patriarchal Vicar), Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch
 +Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
 +Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
 +Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
 +Archbishop Abouna Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
 +Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
 +Msgr. George Shehan, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
 +Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
 +Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
 +Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
 +Bishop Joseph Kelekian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

(Easter 2012)

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