Holy Saturday: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

Today, on Holy Saturday, the sacred light or “Holy Fire”—the fire that lights the tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem—comes out into the world. The fire from the tomb is spread from candle to candle all over the church and throughout the streets of the Old City—a powerful symbol of the way that Christ’s light is spread into the world. However, many of us still feel as though we are in darkness, and that Christ’s light has not yet come to us.

While holidays in the Holy Land can be joyful celebrations, they are also stark reminders of the reality of military occupation and the dark side of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Just this week we watched as Israel denied permits to 600 Gazans who wished to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter.

While we know that Easter is coming, and we are able to endure the darkness today with hopeful anticipation, let us take a moment to remember the disciples, who did not have that knowledge. I imagine them hiding in the upper room, that day, confused and grieved. They probably felt as though they were in eternal darkness, although that couldn’t be further from the truth. As we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, let us pray for Christ’s light to come into the darkness, because we know that the darkness cannot overcome it.

God,

Although there are many places in our world that feel as though they are in darkness, we know that the darkness cannot overcome the light. We ask that as the holy fire is lit inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, your light would also shine in the darkness. We pray for those 600 Gazans who were not able to travel into Jerusalem to celebrate Easter—that they would feel your light nonetheless. Thank you that though we walk through the darkness on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, we have the assurance that Easter, and your eternal light, is coming.

In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.


This devotion was co-authored by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), and Molly Lorden, the CMEP1835 Coordinator.

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