by Elli Atchison
During Lent and Holy Week, it is appropriate for us to reflect on places in today’s time where there is loss, poverty, and pain. Throughout His life, Jesus was closest to people who had succumb to illnesses, were ignored by society, and who were experiencing rejection and suffering. This series Jesus Was No Stranger seeks to look at some of those places in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. How would Jesus respond to some of the experiences of both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians today?
Over the next week we’ll offer prayers on the themes of:
Jesus was no stranger to . . .
. . . .life under occupation
. . . .obedience and humble service
. . . . a life of poverty
. . . . death and sorrow
. . . . persecution and pain
. . . . the cry for justice
Then we will wrap up the series with “Thy Kingdom Come” after Easter. Read more
by Elli Atchison, World Vision
As the hype around the Israeli elections comes to a close, the watching world questions if new peace talks are possible in the near future. The international community has been supportive over the years. They have encouraged the peace process and provided financial and diplomatic aid to protect Israel’s security and democracy in the region. However, frustration seems to be growing and patience is getting thin. There are many questions about the future of the Holy Land, but the one thing that is certain is that status quo of life in Israel and the Palestinian Territories cannot continue.
All people living in the Holy Land have unmet needs. Israelis want to feel safe and secure. Palestinians want live in freedom without the occupation. All want economic opportunities that will improve the lifestyles of their families and their hopes for a better future. These are common needs and basic desires from two groups of people who were created by the same God. Read more
by Elli Atchison, World Vision
Happy New Year! I love the fresh start of a new calendar. It holds 365 opportunities to pursue self-improvement and life’s ambitions. There are many things I want to accomplish in 2015. Like many of you, my resolutions include goals for organization and a healthier lifestyle. I want to travel to new places and make some amazing memories with my family. However, my list has one item that might not be on yours. I plan to eat an elephant called peace.
Before you get the wrong idea, please give me the chance to explain. I happen to adore elephants. I have observed them on safari Zimbabwe, and marveled at the truly amazing creation of God that they are. I am not promoting poaching them in the wild. I am speaking of the old adage “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” Of course this wisdom is not in the Bible and did not come from Solomon or Jesus. But, I think we can still apply it to the Holy Land in 2015. Read more
by Elli Atchison, World Vision
There are so many wonderful things about Christmas. My favorite parts are the beautiful decorations, holiday music, and sharing good cheer with family and friends. However, shopping is the part of Christmas I honestly do not enjoy. Finding the perfect gift is an almost impossible quest that I often dread. It is during these stressful moments that I try to reflect on some of the people who were on God’s list that first Christmas. What were the perfect presents He chose for each of them?
The first person on God’s list was Mary. She was a young girl from a humble family, living in the small town of Nazareth. Mary was, of course, engaged to be married to Joseph and probably dreaming about what life would be like after she became his wife. So, when a messenger came to Mary unexpectedly and revealed that God wanted to change her plans, I am sure she was frightened and confused. This stranger calmed her fears, and Mary said “Yes” to God’s call. Read more
by Natalie Wisely, World Vision
During this season of Lent, Christians around the globe are drawn into closer communion with God through worship, prayer, and fasting. During this time of reflection, we pray you are comforted by the knowledge that God is the one who provides peace, who creates beauty from ashes.
In Israel and Palestine, there have been decades of mourning due to the brokenness that comes from neighbors living in conflict and at times, it feels hopeless. But we are convicted that we cannot give up and must continue to work and pray for peace in this land.
Taking this into consideration, we ask that you join us in the prayer below – that there will be peace in the conflicts of the world, peace in the turmoil of our own hearts, and that we will have the courage and conviction to continue on in this effort until it is completed. Read more
by Craig Swandby, World Vision
Though many Israelis, Palestinians, and United States stakeholders have watched U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy with suspicion, I can’t help but acknowledge that his relentless efforts are laudable, and also appropriate. The status quo of violence, instability, and injustice cannot continue. It must end.
In the coming weeks, Kerry will publicly reveal his plan—the framework agreement. Cynicism and skepticism persist, and communities are preparing to defend their interests should the Kerry plan fall short of their expectations.
The stakes are high, and we must go before the Lord in prayer. We pray for lasting peace and justice for our neighbors and fellow Christians and all others in the Holy Land. Read more
Organization Highlight: Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) – Impact: Holy Land Conference
ESA is convening a conversation—Impact: Holy Land—in Philadelphia, Penn., on December 4-6, 2013, to hear from Jesus followers around the world on what we can do to foster peace with justice in the Holy Land. Many are seeking to have a positive “impact” on the area—for all the populations living there.
At Impact: Holy Land, we will gather to listen well to the diverse stories and perspectives of Palestinian Christians, Christian Zionists, Messianic Jews, and other followers of Jesus. All of these perspectives reflect serious engagement with scriptural texts and political realities in lands that carry deep meaning for our faith. The event will culminate at the altar, where we will share in the body and blood of Christ together in Holy Communion. Read more