SABEEL WAVE OF PRAYER

25TH MARCH 2024

Time is running out for the people of Gaza. The UN, several governments, the World Bank, many other organizations and bodies, along with millions around the world, are pointing out that the people of Gaza are at imminent risk of famine as a result of starvation. Several Palestinians, many of whom are children, have already died due to starvation and dehydration. The small amount of aid that enters Gaza is like a drop of water in the ocean.

Eternal God, no words can express the suffering of the people in Gaza. Many of us are in despair. As our hearts, minds, and spirits are consumed with the suffering in Gaza, we remember the promise that “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst” (Revelation 7:16). Lord, help us to continue fighting the good fight, bearing witness to your love and our native land.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer

Last week, Jared Kushner has praised the new US-built makeshift port off Gaza, and suggested Israel should use the port to remove Palestinians civilians in Gaza while it continues its military operations. Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly suggested that the new US port, which was installed to help ship aid to Gaza, could be used to deport Palestinians. Several scholars, experts, and organizations have noted that the US port was built to gain access to the Gaza Marine which contains a large natural-gas field.

God of the poor, we remember the Psalmist words that “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day” (Psalm 7:11-12). Help us, O Lord, channel our anger which stems from injustice, towards sin. Help our oppressors as they dehumanize themselves by treating us and the oppressed as an obstacle for their self-interests. Sober the powerful from their drunkenness.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer   

Last week, Palestinians marked Mother’s Day on the 21st of March. This day honors and celebrates all Palestinian mothers. Moreover, on the 19th of March, many Palestinians celebrated the birthday of the “Patriarch of the People”, Patriarch Michel Sabbah who celebrated his 91st birthday.

God of Mary and Joseph, we are grateful to all the Palestinian mothers who have had to be mothers in very difficult circumstances. Many of whom can identify with Mary, a mother of a person who was martyred by imperial powers, and a great woman of agency. We are also grateful to the leadership and devotion of Patriarch Michel Sabaah who many consider in the Palestinian community as a spiritual father. Let us remember the words of the “Patriarch of the People” in light of the current situation: “I call on each one, that he may take up his responsibility… and to contribute more light and more hope in the difficult situation which we live, by their own reflexion and their various services” (Sabbah, First Pastoral Letter, 1988).

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer    

This week for the Western Church is Holy Week. This week is between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ. This year in Palestine, as we commemorate Holy Week, our thoughts will be with our people who are suffering so terribly. Sabeel will be having a devotional study for Holy Week which is inspired by the Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage and the Sabeel Contemporary Way of the Cross.   

Prince of Peace, we remember that you rode on a donkey not a white stallion, we remember you were betrayed by a kiss and denied by your followers, we remember that you lamented on the cross “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Lord, help the world understand that the proclamation “Hosanna” is the cry of the oppressed to be delivered, the cry of Gaza amidst their suffering. Lord, it feels that we are forever in Holy Saturday, help us with your resurrection power not to be in despair.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer   

Last week, horrific scenes have come out of Al-Shifa hospital. Israeli military has sieged the hospital and killed at least 100 people, many parts of the medical compound has been destroyed, and people sheltering inside were ordered to leave, including hundreds of patients. Israel has claimed to have killed terrorists during their assault. However, Palestinian health authorities and international NGOs strongly denied claims by Israel that Hamas fighters are based in the hospital. It is still unclear how many patients and other civilians were killed in the raid.

God of life, we come to you broken and afraid from hearing the news in Al-Shifa hospital. The events known to us are horrifying and the events we do not know haunt us. It seems that the empires today and the systems who oppress us “love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.” (Psalm 52:3). Lord, be with all the victims at Al-Shifa hospital and stop the madness of military operations in hospitals.  

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer

On the 26th of March, Sabeel will be having the Contemporary Way of the Cross event in Jerusalem. This is part of a larger tradition at Sabeel where Palestinians and internationals walk together the 14 stations of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) and connect our suffering as Palestinian Christians with the suffering of Jesus through songs and prayers. Unfortunately, this year Palestinians from the West Bank will not be able to attend due to the restriction of movement.

Crucfied Messiah, we Palestinians interpret your journey to the cross with our own historical and contemporary experience. We interpret our own crucifixion with yours and proclaim that you have identified with us and care for our liberation. Lord, we pray that you continue to reveal to us the good news that Christ brings, and pray that we participate in sharing it by working for justice for all.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer      

We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayer for the countries of Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia.

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Father Dave

Anglican Priest, Professional Boxer,Social activist and Father of four

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