Live from Jerusalem: Video & Transcript

Mount of Olives Prayer Vigil Service, January 14, 2024 – Jerusalem

DISCLAIMER: This transcription is based on the audio provided, but may include small errors and may not be perfectly reflective of the words of the speakers.

Bridget Moix

Call to Worship 

I want to welcome us into worship together. To feel the presence of God so deeply here and cross all the time zones and all the  places in the world where people have risen in the night or broken the dawn or paused in their day to be with us and join to pray for peace. I want to especially thank Churches for Middle East Peace for making this delegation possible and to the Reverend Dr Mae Cannon for bringing us here together. I want to thank our co-sponsor Bethlehem Bible College and the 23 organizations who have co-sponsored this event. thank you for your courage and support. And I want to thank our tremendous hosts. we are so humbled and honored to be  here in this space, in the Church of Dominis Flavit with Father Sebastian holding us in worship together.

Susan Gunn

Opening Prayer 

Prayer from Vatican II Council 

Let us pray. We stand before you Holy Spirit conscious of our sinfulness but aware that we gather in your name. Come to us remain with us and enlighten our hearts. Give us light and strength to know your will to make it our own and to live it in our lives. guide us by your wisdom, support us by your power. For you are God, sharing the glory of Father and Son. You desire justice for all. Enable us to uphold the rights of others do not allow us to be misled by ignorance or corrupted by fear or favor. Unite us to yourself in the bond of love and keep us faithful to all that is true. We gather in your name. May we temper justice with love so that all our decisions may be pleasing to you and earn the reward promised to good and faithful servants. You live and reign with the Father and the Son, one God forever and ever amen. I call Russ and Sue to read the first reading.

Rev. Sue Koenig and Russ Testa 

Lamentations 2:11-12, 19-22 

The first reading is from the book of Lamentations.

My eyes fail from weeping,

    I am in torment within;

my heart is poured out on the ground

    because my people are destroyed,

because children and infants faint

    in the streets of the city.

They say to their mothers,

    “Where is bread and wine?”

as they faint like the wounded

    in the streets of the city,

as their lives ebb away

    in their mothers’ arms.

Arise, cry out in the night,

    as the watches of the night begin;

pour out your heart like water

    in the presence of the Lord.

Lift up your hands to him

    for the lives of your children,

who faint from hunger

    at every street corner.

“Look, Lord, and consider:

    Whom have you ever treated like this?

Should women eat their offspring,

    the children they have cared for?

Should priest and prophet be killed

    in the sanctuary of the Lord?

“Young and old lie together

    in the dust of the streets;

my young men and young women

    have fallen by the sword.

You have slain them in the day of your anger;

    you have slaughtered them without pity.

“As you summon to a feast day,

    so you summoned against me terrors on every side.

In the day of the Lord’s anger

    no one escaped or survived;

those I cared for and reared

    my enemy has destroyed.”

 The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God

Hassan El-Tayyab

Original Music

Tell me have you read the news, the holy land has got the blues

If we knew the only way out was through, you and I are better off together

If we sing with one voice, maybe someday we could form a chorus 

Loud enough than these wars, you and I are better off together 

Maybe we stop arming all these fights, stop the bombing and all this pain 

Let me tell you all I’m saying, is you and I are better off together. 

Better off together, better off together 

One thing I know is you and I are better off together 

If the ocean starts to rise, I know your boat is tied to mine 

And it matters not where we reside, let’s get to higher ground together 

And if we hear a mothers cry, in Ferguson or Palestine

It matters not where we reside, let’s get to higher ground together 

If we all took a stand, we could stop wars across this land 

Yes I hope we all understand, that we’re all in this thing together 

Better off together, better off together 

One thing I know is you and I are better off together 

And if you’re lost don’t know where you belong, come find me in the darkness before the dawn 

I hope it don’t take long, help me sing this song, we’re better off together 

Take my hand and come with me and I’ll take your hand and come with you 

Cause we know the only way out is through and you and I are better off together 

Better off together, better off together 

One thing I know is you and I are better off together 

Better off together, better off together, 

One thing I know is we are better off together.

H.E. Vicki Downing

Psalm 46:1-11 

God is our refuge and strength,

    an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

    the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fail;

    God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;

    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,

    the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease

    to the ends of the earth.

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

    he burns the shields with fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;

    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Bishop Steve Kellogg

Luke 18:1-8  

A reading from the gospel the holy Gospel according to Luke 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 

He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 

And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 

yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 

I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise be to God. 

We’re honored now to have Reverend Jack Sara provide a homily. 

Rev. Dr. Jack Sara

Homily  

Good morning dear sisters and brothers, greetings in the name of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ, the Savior that came here in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. He came with a purpose. He came for a reason. Jesus declared in Luke Chapter 4 verses 18 to 19, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recover sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. This is the word of God. You see, the incarnation was all about identification, feeling with, going through the human suffering carrying the burden of humanity, give freedom to the captives and  heal the souls and the bodies of those whom He touches. And as I speak here in this site, those of you have come personally from far away from North America and elsewhere to come and visit with us here in the Holy Land, in Jerusalem, in Palestine, you came to identify, you came to express your hearts, your prayers, and solidarity. You came to proclaim the good news that there is someone above us who hears, who listens, and who feels with those who are suffering. Especially nowadays in Gaza and all what’s going on in there. You see, Jesus came for changing hearts and minds, so people could have access to life in the new creation, reestablishing a holy nation. Especially after the former nation have failed in its calling to be light and salt for the whole earth. And now we are all called to be that, as Christians, as believers in Jesus himself. We derive our calling from His calling and try to live His calling in this fallen world that we are part of, that we mingle with, that we need to change by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s word. However, sadly and with heavy heart I say we have failed as a Church to be what Jesus has called us to be. And for that we need to repent. Here and elsewhere. we failed to live like Him and being like Him a true salt and light for the Earth.The reality that we’re living in here in Palestine and around us, that there’s so many people who are suffering who are struggling and the Christians, instead of taking Jesus’s stand, doing what Jesus would do in every context, especially for those who are suffering, who are being bombed, who are being killed, who are being massacred. Sadly we got caught into fighting with each other, disunity, disbelief, got in bed with the rulers of the earth, and the ideas of the world that took hold in our minds and hearts. To the point that so many Christians nowadays, instead of standing, instead of standing on the side of peace, they’re standing on the side of war. We saw this in our context as the war had started in Gaza. So many Christians were, instead of siding on the side of peace and crying and shouting that the war will stop, they were actually beating the drums of war, and encouraging it, actually praying that there will be no more Gaza. And I think these people are sick. Do you agree with me? I think they’re mentally sick. We saw this in our context. You know, those who were stricken by what is called Jerusalem Syndrome. I mean we’re here standing in the  site of Jerusalem just behind us. Which is, by the way, a true mental sickness that I believe most Christian Zioniists are sick with. The so-called Jerusalem syndrome, listen to this, is a behavioral  phenomena observed in eccentric and psychotic tourist and religious delusions.  The psychotic people had set out for their journey to the holy city for example, already guided by a delusionary system derived from the religious belief and cultural background. Which many of those guys, their cultural background is the empire and the colonizers. Those guys, instead of being healing to the people in our country, they are sick themselves. They need healing and they need someone to pray for them. I cannot forget the vice president of the former president of the US, not a long time ago, few days ago, at the borders of Gaza, signing on bombs, his name. And I don’t know what he would wish, wish, wishing for or praying for, that these bombs probably will do so much destruction. Certainly people like him and many others, even pastors, churches, are delusional. But we are here, we are here on a similar sighting of what Jesus have seen 2,000 years ago, seeing the city that became a cup of trembling for people. It’s a measuring tool. It measures where is our hearts, where are our minds? Are we on the side of war or on the side of peace? And I believe all of us here in this church are on the side of peace. On the side of peace. And on the side of Jerusalem which is my heart.This is where I grew up as the son of  Jerusalem, who grew up in their streets experienced the sweet and bitter life inside of it. I desire  that those like us and those around the world, especially those who are called after our Savior Jesus Christ, should be always and always on the side of peace. In the verses and the following _ after the chapter that our Bishop have read today, there’s a chapter in  the book of Luke, chapter 19 that talks about Jesus coming to the city of Jerusalem, walking  down the valley going going all the way through this mountain. And upon seeing Jerusalem he couldn’t hold them _. But his eyes gushed with tears over the city, because it never knew peace. and is as if he was looking forward. For how long, I don’t know. Seeing that also in the next years to come, whether this decades or millenniums, 2,000 years already. This  city honestly, never knew peace. And the same with our country. The Gospel of Luke we find Jesus expressing his deep sorrow and shedding tears over Jerusalem. And so we should be. Today the same invitation echoes in our lives, as believers, as individuals, and as nations. We stand at a crossroads of choices. Jesus’ tears remind us that the consequences of our actions have spiritual implications. Will we be like the people of Jerusalem? Heed the call to repentance or we will persist in the paths that head to destruction? Jesus wept out of love. His tears were not only in response to the current state of affairs but as a manifestation for His deep love for humanity. And so we are. As we reflect finally on the Jesus tears, let us be moved to gratitude for the love that surpasses all understanding. May his tears inspire us to share in His mission of love and redemption. Let us be instruments of peace. Let us be instruments of reconciliation and healing in a world yearning for the transformation power of Jesus’s love. And in conclusion, let us turn our gaze towards Jerusalem where Jesus wept for and for the nations, where I believe wholeheartedly He’s still weeping and wants to see those who will weep out of empathy, standing for peace, standing for reconciliation, and standing for love for this country. Amen.  

Many Children are Weeping – Tamar 

Shu Fee Atfal ‘am Tebkee  (Many Children are Weeping) by Hiba Tawaji 

English Translation:

Look at the children of Gaza crying

The children are dying from war

And the world is standing by, watching

It can see but does not want to hear

It hears but doesn’t speak

Justice in this world is heartless

And it doesn’t speak

Do you think Christmas has two faces? 

One is happy and one is sad 

Even internal melancholy is in pain 

Shedding tears and crying: “We are hungry” 

But you cannot hear 

Who do you think Justice is for? 

Where is it? 

Little kids are knocking on doors for help 

Forgotten and pathless 

If only I could take their hands and walk them to the sun 

And soak under sun rays that blind evil 

Together, we can rebuild a new road… for all people

Father Sebastian

Liturgy of Eucharist 

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God, begotten not made, one in being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered, died, and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Be seated

Blest are you, Lord, God of all creation,

thanks to your goodness this bread we offer:

It will become for us the bread of life.

ALL: Blessed be God, forever! 

Blest are you, Lord, God of all creation,

thanks to your goodness this wine we offer:

fruit of the vine and work of human hands, 

It will become our spiritual healing. 

ALL: Blessed be God, forever!

Pray, brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice may be accepted by the Almighty Father

ALL: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his Church.

The Lord be with you.

ALL:  And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

ALL: We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

ALL: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Father, it is our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Word through whom you made the universe, the Savior you sent to redeem us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he took flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary. For our sake he opened his arms on the cross; he put an end to death and revealed the resurrection. In this he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people. And so we join the angels and the saints in proclaiming your glory as we say:

ALL: Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, he took bread and gave you thanks, He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body which will be given up for you.

When the supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

While he was at supper on the night before he died for us, he took bread in his hands, and gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.

At the end of the meal he took the cup. Again he praised you for your goodness, gave the cup to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. it will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

ALL:  Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love, together with John Paul our Pope, our bishop, and all the clergy. Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence. Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles, and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. May we praise you in union with them, and give you glory through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Through him, with him, in him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father,

for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us.

ALL: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

ALL: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom, where you live for ever and ever.

ALL: Amen.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

ALL: And with your spirit. 

Let us offer each other a sign of peace.

ALL: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.

ALL: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.

We are in the middle room of Mount of Olives. The place that Christ frequented while he was on Earth and before his suffering he stood on this place and wept for Jerusalem and for the children of Jerusalem who refused him king of peace to reign over them and prefered the earthly King Ceasar(s) over him. 

And today, it’s repeated today. Unfortunately that the most leaders of great Powers chose Earthly matters and abandon what really matters. After his speaking and weeping over Jerusalem, he uttered a prophecy as found in the gospel of Matthew, as you hear here, and Luke is there. These two prophecies saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem how many times have I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and you did not want to. For this, the days will come when not one stone will be left in your house.” And also, St Luke says in his gospel, “Jerusalem Jerusalem you killer of the prophets and Messengers. On this day that the king of Peace has visited you and he brings your children together, your eyes where blind during this visit and you rejected the king of Peace.” 

This happen in, you know, in the year 70 at the hand of the Roman leader titles who destroyed Jerusalem and demolish the temple. We commemorate this memory for here remembering and contemplating these Divine words that Jesus Christ spoke from, these sacred words. Let us pray and ask almighty God, Jesus Christ, to soften the hearts of world leaders by agreeing with their people to move forward in bringing peace, bringing peace and tranquility to all parts of the earth that has been overrun by wars, killing, and destruction. For what? For the sake of domination, arrogance, and positioning. 

Let us pray for the top of this land, the land of Christ, which centers all prophets, all peoples with their various costumes and cultures to live with each other in love and mutual respect with the all high principle of humanity because today we are here and tomorrow we will leave and not take anything from this free world. 

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Call to Action

Now that we have been fed in word and in the body of Christ, we’re called to action. We very intentionally decided to have this service today here in Dominus Flevit, the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. And there’s not a doubt in my mind that if Jesus were here today He would be weeping over the reality in the Holy Land, throughout all of it, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, and especially Gaza. The Prince of Peace would be brokenhearted, for there is no peace to be found in this city of Peace. Over 23,000 civilians killed in Gaza including 9,000 more children who are innocent of the crimes of Hamas. Jesus would be devastated that the world that we live in today allows for more than two million people to have their basic needs water, food, and medical services to be cut off. What kind of world do we live in? Brothers and sisters and especially those of us who choose to follow Jesus, do we really think that God would allow for the displacement of more than 1.8 million people from their homes or the 100 plus thousand Jewish refugees who also continue to be displaced from communities in South Israel and from the northern border? And we must also be brokenhearted for the 1200 people killed on our October 7th and the more than 200 people taken hostage on that day. It is righteous to be brokenhearted for those who were killed by Hamas and to speak against those atrocities, just as it is righteous to be brokenhearted by the atrocities of the Israeli Army. Jewish and Palestinian families are devastated by the death and destruction of the last 100 days. And Palestinians have been devastated by the decades long occupation and displacement after displacement after displacement. Nakba after nakba after nakba. And 16 years of a long blockade in the Gaza Strip. And Jews have been devastated by centuries of anti-Semitism that is growing worse today. And if Jesus were here today, He would weep. 

If we want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus we must allow our hearts to be broken. We must pray that God would expand our hearts and that if we do not have the capacity to love, that God would grow our hearts, that He might give us empathy for every person who is experiencing pain or loss or trauma. But grief is not enough. And wherever we are in the world, we have an obligation to speak out against death, destruction, and violence. All violence. We must not be silent. We must speak out and be committed to the prevention of genocide. What are our obligations? Our obligations as members of the world’s human community, let alone as members of the Christian community is to say enough. Enough bombing, enough weapons, enough, enough destruction. We at Churches for Middle East Peace and all of the organizations that we work alongside are calling for a comprehensive ceasefire, a laying down of weapons, and an end to all violence against civilians. 

And this is not naive. It is courageous. Diplomatic alternatives, negotiations, nonviolence, these are the methods that must be pursued. And people, as people of faith in such desperate times when there’s been so much trauma and so much violence we must pursue the only way forward and that is the way of peace. We must hope and hold on to a different reality and a better future. and hope is not an idealistic dream or a far and distant reality. We must do everything within our power to hope for peace so that it becomes a reality, using our resources, our influence upon world powers, elected officials, religious leaders, diplomats, and everyone within our orbit. Peace is the only answer that will bring safety and security for Jews and lasting liberation and justice. Peace is the only answer that will bring lasting liberation and justice for Palestinians. 

Hope is not passive. Hope demands action. And we have a critical role to play. Hope is not giving into to despair but moving forward anyway, even when we don’t know whether what we’re doing is making any difference. We continue to take steps forward every day. Step by step, we take steps forward in solidarity. And today we invite you to take steps forward with us in action, spiritual and physical. Especially as we’re approaching Lent. We invite you to join us in prayer. We do so weekly online, Churches for Middle East Peace and all of our other organizations. Might God give us wisdom and courage. We invite you to learn on this journey as we learn together and there’s many opportunities to do so as have been evidenced in the last 100 days. We’ve been talking about the first casualty of war is truth. And so might we seek together truth in the midst of such horrible times. We invite you to give to organizations that are doing such incredible work to meet real needs in the midst of such challenges. And we invite you to collective advocacy, to contact elected officials and representatives, to pray that their hardened hearts would change but that policies also would change and that peace might come and ceasefire might be realized. 

And finally we’re inviting you to join us around the world by participating and creating and participating in what’s being called Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages. This Christmas, Munther Isaac said, I want you to look in the mirror and ask, where was I when Gaza was going through a genocide? And one day, if we’re asked, where were you? I hope we’ll answer, we were here. We showed up. We showed up in solidarity and love. We showed up and we worked diligently to stop the violence, to stop the killing, to work against destruction. We showed up with our voices, we shouted from the rooftops, we called, we cried out. I’ve been crying enough. We demanded a ceasefire, we stood in solidarity with those who are in suffering, pain and vulnerable. And I hope we said that we did Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages. 

This program was started by a Kiwi named James Harris. For those of you who might not know, Kiwi is not just a fruit it’s a person also from New Zealand. I had to look that up. James, feeling heartbroken and helpless was moved to walk the distance of Gaza in prayerful solidarity. Hhis impromptu actions raised over $5,000 for relief organizations by Palestinian Christians in Australia. And his mustard seed action grew as friends in Australia and New Zealand and then the United States and now the UK. And I hope places around the world came on board and felt the Holy Spirit moving and with the leadership of Suzan Wahhab, Jarred McKenna, Lisa Sharon Harper and myself, as many, many organizations came together including Christ at the Checkpoint, and Bethlehem Bible College, Churches for Middle

 East Peace, Freedom Road, Palestinian Christians in Australia, Aotearoa Christians for Peace in Palestine and many, many other groups will join on. Today we’re launching Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages alongside Palestinian Christians and international Christians standing in solidarity. And our hope is that people around the world throughout Lent will take these pilgrimages and create opportunities to walk 25 miles or 41 kilometers. And that on theseJJourneys we will meditate on the life and passion of Jesus and that we might deepen our solidarity with Palestinian sisters and brothers. And enter into the suffering that they’re experiencing daily. 

What is it that we want? Enduring and sustained ceasefire, immediate flow of food, water, aid, fuel, and humanitarian assistance. Release of all hostages both Israeli and Palestinian held by the Israeli prison system. And the end of occupation, so that a just peace can begin. This idea of pilgrimages is that churches and small groups and individuals all over the world can organize these, step by step in hope, in faith and in courage, to take Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages. If you would like to learn more you can go to our website, information will be there very soon or gazaceasefirepilgrimages.com. 

As we go in to the world with a call to action, let us remember a few of the truths that we have heard here today from God. War and violence are not the end of the story. And God will not abandon the people of Gaza. He will hear their cries. God will not abandon the people of Palestine. He will hear their cries. And God will not  abandon the people of Israel. He will hear their cries. We worship a God of life and not death, light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. Now is always the time to do what is right. May we be motivated and compelled by love and not hatred for that is the power of peace. And if we don’t have love might God expand our hearts so that we have greater capacity to love. Might the kingdom of God come and the gates of hell not prevail. And might we not be silent in the face of genocide but do everything within our power to prevent even more death. May not one, may not one more child in Gaza die. May not one more person lose their life. May not one more parent bury their child because of war. Might we hold on to a future where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace, where Jews do not fear for the safety of their lives and where Palestinians can be free.Ccontinue to do good, to take steps towards peace, and may God go before us in the Name of Christ, Amen. 

Father Sebastian

Closing Prayer 

Let us pray: May the sacrament we have received, O Lord, free us from all sin, so that, rid from the condemnation of sin, we may glory in the fullness of your gift. This we ask through Christ our Lord. 

The Lord be with You, and may God bless you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Benediction to Close.