World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel

Each September the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches invites participation in this week of advocacy and action supporting an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel.  Congregations and individuals around the globe who share the hope of justice unite during the week to take peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness.

IMG_8843This liturgy for the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel was developed by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches and focuses on “walls.” The service is flexible, designed for use in different contexts,whether a Sunday morning communion service or a special World Week of Peace event.

 

Click here for a pdf copy of the entire service.

Participants are invited to reflect on the meaning of walls:  The Separation wall which is the longest and highest wall in the world and which divides people, families, and communities, humiliates the Palestinians, and builds a culture of fear and separation; and on the walls in of local neighborhoods and communities.

Our hope is that this liturgy would inspire us to break down walls of prejudice, fear and violence in our own communities, and would activate communities across the world to speak out against the scandalous wall separating Israel and Palestine.

Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum
For Jesus is our peace… and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
–Ephesians 2:14

imageChristian leaders in Jerusalem issued this joint prayer in 2014 to be used in services of worship on Sunday and during the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.

The Jerusalem Prayer

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. (Hebrews 13:3)

With these words we pray together for those who are in prison all over the world, those easily forgotten. We pray especially for the political prisoners of Palestine and Israel. We pray for the sick among them and those who cannot handle the hardship of a prison cell, for the children and women who are mistreated behind bars. We also remember those left behind, the families who are bereaved as their beloved ones are sent to prison. We pray for inner transformation for those who committed crimes, and in need of conversion. We pray for hearts and minds that are haunted by hatred and fear, that we will soon find peace and reconciliation in souls and in the societies.

This region aches with so much troubles of the body and soul, both presently and in history. In Palestine and Israel today many lack freedom and too many are behind bars. For too long injustice, violence and fear have shaped this region. We pray and ask for human treatment and justice for all, as we are all children of God.

At last we pray for a just peace settlement and reconciliation, a peace where there will be no more political prisoners behind bars and where harmony will prevail in the hearts of all the peoples of this region. We pray for God’s mercy, for freedom for those in shackles and for peace in our time.

As we observe this week with our brothers and sisters from churches all over the world we pray:

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need.

Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;

deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.

Why should the nations say,
Where is their God?”

Before our eyes, make known among the nations
that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.

May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.

Psalm 79, 8-11

wall-centre-image_600x217-sadaka-photoO Lord, you came to us to demolish barriers between people,
To establish peace and to unite hearts
And to create a new “human being” who does not know enmity but only love
Look at us all, we who live on this land that you, yourself, sanctified
You made it a land of encounter and reconciliation with all human beings.
Look at us in your sacred land,
We still live separated by walls
Though we believe that you love us all, with the same love for all
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, and hear our prayers
(Psalm 4:1)
O God , the walls still exist and they are high
Not for protection but for isolation and separation, ignorance, discrimination and killing
The walls are silent but they create strife and drive love away
O lord, your children are fighting
Change their hearts,
Change the expenses of building walls and make these expenses for building fraternity
and love among your children
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, and hear our prayers
They say: they are afraid
They say: They are satisfied and content
They say: They do not want to know anything about what lies on the other side of the wall
And we say: we are besieged and our life is in a big prison
There is anxiety in our hearts and confusion in our speech.
To access the complete service click here.

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Blessed are you, who trust in the Lord

and put your hope in God.
You are like a tree planted by the water,
that extends its roots to the river.
When heat comes, you do not fear,
your leaves remain green.
You do not grieve the year of drought
nor cease to bear fruit.
Blessed as you are.
Go and struggle with the power of the Spirit
To break down all the walls!
Go in peace…
(Adapted from Jr 17.7-8)
To access the complete service click here.

Al at vigilOrganize and join in events and activities around the following three principles:

1. Praying with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week.
2. Educating about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to prisoners.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

As participants in World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples.

Bethlehem Unwrapped - sign closeup 3.JPG - balloons for Israel & PalestineWhy?

This annual observance of a week of prayer, education, and advocacy calls participants to work for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine, so that Palestinians and Israelis can finally live in peace. It has been 66 years since the creation of the State of Israel. This has not led to the creation of an independent Palestinian state but has only deepened the tragedy of the Palestinian people. It is now almost 50 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza overwhelmed the peaceful vision of one land, two peoples.

Yet the dream of one nation cannot be fulfilled at the expense of another.

The action week’s message is that now:

  • It’s time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.
  • It’s time for freedom from occupation.
  • It’s time for equal rights.
  • It’s time for the healing of wounded souls.

For more information click here.