Prayers4Peace: Holy Saturday of Lent 2024

A Lesson on Perseverance, Holy Saturday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. David Hindman

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

In 2009, I took a group of college students to Israel-Palestine for an experience of pilgrimage, education, and mission. For two days we planted olive trees at the Tent of Nations, a farm outside of Bethlehem which is owned by the Nassar family. This Palestinian Christian family lives by the motto, “We Refuse to Be Enemies,” even as they are surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements and are frequently harassed by their neighbors. On the farm, the students also learned about the decades-long struggle of the family’s continued perseverance in its efforts to register their land and garner legal recognition of their family’s ownership.

One day, as they struggled to move rocks and find a space to plant one particular olive tree, I heard a student confess, “These stones are beasting me!” – by which they meant the stones were getting the best of them and wearing them down. And yet the student kept digging, and struggling, and trying, because they were determined to do everything they could to ensure at least that one small piece of land would be productive and life-giving. They also realized, compared to the daily struggles and hassles the Nassar family faced with the Israeli military or settlers, tilling that bit of rocky soil was mere child’s play. 

The Nassars follow the lead of Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, as they run their race toward peace with justice. In that moment, I believe the student was inspired by the examples of both Jesus and the Nassars. They were persuaded that if the Nassars could run their race with such integrity and determination, they could at least make their own small contribution in shared solidarity and faith.

Prayer: O Christ, our Companion and Champion, make us mindful as we run the marathon race toward justice and mercy in all your holy lands, that we do not run alone, but have compatriots who travel with us and even set a glorious pace. Run with us until by your grace, we reach the goal, and with you win the prize of your upward call. Amen.

We invite you to further reflect this Holy Saturday in a time of prayer with this piece offered by Rev. Martin:

Making Peace with Mud and Tears

by Rev. Laura Martin 

Since we are surrounded by
the ruined places where children 
used to carry flowers,
the places where mothers used to sing
to swaddled babies about cooing birds and 
untroubled skies,
the places where teenagers chased
each other in afternoon games, 
we must continue to remember
the people,
the open windows,
the songs in the afternoons. 

Since we are surrounded by 
all that is lost 
and people who can no longer pray, 
we must remember that lament 
is also holy expression. 

Since we are surrounded by 
unjust judges
and people who cast lots
while others die,
we must continue the work 
making peace 
even when we use mud and tears to do so.

Let us remember that 
in our faith 
rejected stones
become cornerstones.
In our faith, 
stories are told by
people who kept running
through storms,
who kept believing in water 
even as they stood in deserts,
who kept loving their neighbors
when it was not convenient or easy. 

Let us remember that
even in this season
where there is the dominion of death,
the tomb will be empty again on Easter.
Christ will be 
not just risen,
but with the children–
Christian, Muslim, Jewish—
running and playing hide-and-seek
among the olive trees.

About the Author: David M. Hindman is a retired United Methodist clergyman who served as the director of the Wesley Foundation at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, for 22 years (1988-2010). From 2010 to his retirement in 2015, Hindman served as the lead pastor at Duncan Memorial UMC, Ashland, VA. After retirement, Hindman returned to Williamsburg, where, partnered with W&M’s Wesley Foundation, Hindman serves as “Alumni Ambassador.” Hindman is behind the University of Virginia and William & Mary’s Wesley Foundations’ educational and mission pilgrimages to Israel-Palestine. Williamsburg UMC, where David attends in retirement, is a CMEP Partner Congregation.

About the author (of “Making Peace with Mud and Tears”): Rev. Laura Martin serves as Associate Pastor at Rock Spring UCC in Arlington, Virginia. Before her ordination, Martin worked with families and individuals experiencing homelessness at New Hope Housing and Shelter House. She serves on the steering committee of the Arlington Interfaith Network, as the Vice Chair of the Alliance for Housing Solutions, on the UCC Palestine-Israel Network, and on the steering committee of Interfaith Power and Light. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Wesley Theological Seminary. Rock Spring UCC is a CMEP Church Partner and a great advocate of our work. 

Please note any views or opinions contained in this devotional series are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

Countryside near Tent of Nations

Volunteer and Visit Tent of Nations Tent of Nations, an international peace center located in the West Bank on the Nassar family farm is requesting volunteers and pilgrimage groups to be present with them at the farm during the upcoming months. This is a time of great uncertainty in Palestine, and additional steps are being taken to isolate the farm and restrict access to it. The “solidarity of presence” is being requested and provides some level of protection. If you are organizing a group to travel to the Holy Land, or will participate in a group, please see that Tent of Nations is part of the itinerary.  If you wish to volunteer at the farm, visit Tent of Nations website to review the information on volunteering, and complete and submit the contact form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upcoming Spiritual Events
Recent Posts

Subscribe to
get Prayers4Peace in your inbox