Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Eve - Isaiah, Here we stand; Stand with us

Christmas Eve - Isaiah, Here we stand; Stand with us

Isaiah 9.2-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…. (Is 9.2)

On Christmas Eve we will celebrate the incarnation—the god who comes to us as a baby in the manger is flesh and blood and tears and dirty diapers. A god who suffers at the hands of an occupying army—beginning with his family’s flight from a ruler who wants to kill their baby. A god who shows us that our bodies and our actions matter.

Palestinians know this God intimately; they know in their bodies what Jesus suffered.,,,,,arrested and beaten. Palestinian parents know homelessness—with no place to rest for the night, forced to find shelter in a barn.

A couple of weeks ago, more than 60 participants from 15 countries met with Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem for a Kairos Palestine Global Justice Encounter/Conference. They met to “share a Kairos consciousness, strengthen and build ties among Kairos groups to form a global network for justice, and learn from the Palestinian experience the urgency of Kairos solidarity and to end injustice.”

The participants in this conference issued a statement, “The Bethlehem Call: Here we stand - Stand with us”. It begins, “How long, O God, will they steal our livelihood? Oppress, imprison and humiliate our people? Deprive our children of their childhood? Indeed how long, God, will the multitudes of Christians of the world ignore the anguish of our Palestinian sisters and brothers and all of the oppressed?”……”We now say: ‘Injustice no more. Here we stand. Stand with us.’”

It continues: (or read the whole statement)

"Today, the illegal regime and illegal forms of the Israeli occupation of Palestine assumes dimensions of systemic injustice whereby the unthinkable and unimaginable becomes globally accepted, supported and normalized. This is an example of Empire (global domination) at work. It happens in Palestine as it happens in many other contexts around the world. At the same time, Palestine is clearly a global issue. The government of Israel claims to have and indeed enjoys an exceptional status within the international community. Israel regards itself to be above the law and is treated as exempt from international law. This status provides the Israeli government the freedom to occupy Palestine with impunity. (photo is Bethlehem)

As witnessed with our own eyes, the treacherous conditions imposed by the Israeli occupation on Palestinians and their land have reached a level of almost unimaginable and sophisticated criminality. This includes

the slow yet deliberate and systematic ethnic cleansing and the geo­cide of Palestinians and Palestine as well as the strangling of the Palestinian economy. The brutality in the “violence of silence” internationally provides an almost impenetrable shield for the Israeli government to implement its evil designs in blatant disregard for human rights and international law. Silence is an opinion. Inaction is an action….”

These are people who have been walking in darkness. Palestinians have been in the shadows, invisible to most of the world. Christians around the world have been walking in the darkness of their ignorance of the Palestinians’ suffering. But the participants in this conference “have seen a great light” and this statement declares their vision.

God made flesh, dwelling among us… we approach the manger on this holy day, make us mindful of all your people who still suffer as you did. Use us as prophets to proclaim your “great light” to the world, wherever we work and play. In your holy name. Amen.

1 comment:

Rabbi Kris said...

You refer to ethnic cleansing in your post. Can you explain the use of this loaded term in relation to the Jewish State? While I abhor the Netanyahu government and the further colonisation by the "settlements" use of ethnic cleansing to describe governmental conduct is not only a gross generalisation but entirely incorrect, inappropriate and downright offensive. We can hold the Israeli government accountable for the settlements that are colonisation, we can hold the IDF accountable for conduct that violates basic human rights...when it occurs, we can speak out against extremists...but none of this approximates ethnic cleansing. The holocaust, Bosnia, Darfur, American treatment of Indians is ethnic cleansing NOT what is occurring in Israel. Question: if you and other Christians are for you recognise and challenge the actions and rhetoric of Hamas, other Arab nation-states that seek to marginalise Palestinians (although not Arab how about Lebanon) and eradicate the Jews from the face of the earth? How does one compromise with a political body that seeks to push us into the sea? Only up to our knees? Is your concern and outrage reserved just for Jews a la the Israeli government? If no, then where is the information on the killing of Jews by rockets, by car bombs and by stealing into Jewish communities snd killing families and little children? Perhaps this is why we jews still look at Christan " concern" as neither fair, helpful or truly on the side of righteousness.