Author: Mae Cannon

Persistent Hope: Easter Sunday and Liberating Hope

by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:6)

Easter Sunday is all about liberation. Liberation from death and the limitations of this world. Christ’s resurrection on the cross reflects the greatest triumph of Christian belief and tradition; death has not prevailed, for life has overcome. He has risen!

History is wrought with stories of contemporary struggles for liberation around the globe—from the black toil for freedom and autonomy in the United States; to Jewish realities of genocide and grotesque global anti-Semitism; to the present-day struggles between Palestinians seeking to“shake off” the physical bonds of occupation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza; and many other examples of people groups seeking liberation and freedom. Read more

Persistent Hope: The Holy Fire of Palestinian and Arab Christians

A Holy Saturday Devotional by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Holy Saturday remains my favorite holiday in Jerusalem. After the evening of Good Friday and the darkness of Christ’s crucifixion, Christians around the world celebrate in the coming of Easter Sunday that darkness is not the end of the story. For light will overcome the darkness.

This year Western Christians (Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants) celebrate Easter one week apart from our Eastern Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters. But the spirit of which we celebrate is the light of Christ prevailing over the darkness of the world. This celebration is symbolized most profoundly in the ritual of Holy Fire and Holy Saturday before Easter Sunday in the sacred city of Jerusalem. Read more

Persistent Hope: Enter Into the Darkness

A Good Friday Devotion by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Few would argue the realities in the Middle East are riddled with darkness. Consider the minority and Christian communities in Iraq continuing to suffer from poverty and displacement after the violence of Daesh (ISIS) and other militant groups destroyed their homes and killed so many of their loved ones. The people of Yemen continue to suffer under a crushing civil war that has manifested itself in the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. The occupation of the Palestinian people continues beyond fifty years of military control of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. Refugees from Syria reside in makeshift camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, as they consider what it might look like to ever rebuild their lives again and have hope for a future for their children and their children’s children. The stories of pain and suffering throughout the Arab world could go on and on. There are many places where the darkness seems to prevail. Read more

Persistent Hope: Maundy Thursday & Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet*

by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

All over the world this evening, churches throughout the east and the west will host services to celebrate Maundy Thursday. The Thursday of Holy Week reminds believers of the Last Supper Jesus had with the disciples, and more specifically, his teaching them about the power of what it means to be a servant.

Jesus knew what was to come. He had loved the disciples and the world while he lived amongst them and John 13:1 tells us he “loved them to the end.” Christ’s ultimate act of love would follow a few short days after the meal, but his lessons for those who followed him were not yet complete. Read more

The Persistent Hope of Palm Sunday: Sacred City to All

It is interesting how Palm Sunday is often described as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. And yet, what was triumphant about this humble Jewish man riding down the Mount of Olives, across the Valley of Kidron, and into the Old City of Jerusalem? The people cried out adulations to him, but the praise of humankind was temporary and fleeting. For in the days hence, that very same crowd would turn their backs on Christ and instead release the convicted prisoner Barabas into freedom. How could Jesus ever be reconciled to his people after such betrayal?

Today the walk down the Mount of Olives is a glimpse of the multi-faceted diversity of cultures and Abrahamic faith traditions that call Jerusalem holy. It is also a microcosm of the contestations about land, historic ties to the Old City of Jerusalem, and the current political realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read more

Persistent Hope: Never Alone

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Over the past several weeks, the news coming from Palestine and Israel continues to be more than discouraging. The United States removal of the world occupation from the United States Human Rights Report of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) just seemed to be the beginning. Then on March 21, the Trump Administration recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights once again demonstrating the administration’s recklessly one-sided approach to Middle East foreign policy. On March 25, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel injuring seven people; Israel attacked Gaza with military strikes. As if that was not enough, the United Nations reminds us that in the year since the beginning of the Great March of Return (March 30, 2018), 195 Palestinians, including 41 children, were killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations, including weekly protests near the perimeter fence, protests against the naval blockade, and other activities. Over the course of the past year, 28,939 Palestinians were injured as a part of the Gaza protests.

In the midst of escalating violence and such horrific tragedies, what does it mean to have Persistent Hope? Read more

Persistent Hope: For the Sake of Others

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Miriam Shaar, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, witnessed the discouragement in her community first hand. Living in Bourj el Barajneh, a refugee camp of more than fifty thousand Palestinian refugees outside of Beirut, Shaar knew the harsh realities of not having the financial means to provide for the basic necessities of life. The more than two million refugees in Lebanon experience significant challenges in their daily life. Refugees, particularly women, cannot find work. They often feel like they do not have hope for a future. Read more

Persistent Hope: Pray for Peace, Advocate for Justice

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

“Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he would help perpetrate it.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The great military war hero and president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower once said: “peace and justice are the opposite sides of the same coin.” Often in advocacy work calling for the end of the occupation of the Palestinian people and in promoting human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), we hear the expression “no peace without justice.” We also hear that peace is viewed with suspicion and distrust for Palestinians; while Israelis have a similar perception of the word justice. For many Palestinians, the word peace, and even more so security, often seems to be an excuse or a justification of the ongoing continuation of policies that limit their right to movement, justify military presence and occupation, control and limit access to resources, and other painful daily realities of living under occupation. For many Israelis, they fear the pursuit of justice condones a violent and militant response in Palestinian resistance. Read more

Persistent Hope: Living in the Midst of Tension

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

This past week I was spending some times with a church ministry team focused on pursuing peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. In our strategy discussions, we talked about the many tensions in our work. How do we speak truth prophetically, while also having a pragmatic approach to influencing policies and advocating for human rights? Our goal is to not only minister, educate, and work with those who already agree with our policies and positions; but to grow the movement of those committed to holistic engagement and a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Needless to say, there are many tensions! Read more

Persistent Hope: Entering into Suffering

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:6-7)

This week, I had the privilege of hosting a podcast with Oxfam America about the current civil war in Yemen. The effects of the conflict are severe, but Yemen does not often reach the front page of the news. The United Nations identified realities in Yemen as the “greatest humanitarian crisis of our day.” With more than two million displaced persons, more than 80 percent of Yemenis live below the poverty line. Since 2016, Yemen experienced the worst cholera outbreak in history. The conflict has caused poverty, food insecurity, a health crisis, and more than 17,000 deaths since 2015. There is great suffering in Yemen. Read more

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