Saturday, March 29, 2008

Way of the Cross-2008: Station Twelve

Wa Habibi, Good Friday Hymn sung by Fairouz

I was fortunate enough to discover the 20th Annual Walk for Justice while I was in Springfield Illinois. The group was inter-denominational. The Stations were landmarks in downtown Springfield that could connect current events to Jesus today. I will review each station one at a time.

Station Twelve: Federal Building

Station Twelve: Jesus dies on the cross

As we stand in solemn witness to the memory of the death, death on a cross, of our Lord, Jesus, we face the fact that he died for us. We also face the fact that the land made holy by Christ’s life, death and resurrection is becoming a more and more difficult place for the followers of Jesus to live.

Since the time of Christ, Christians have lived in the Holy Land with varying degrees of peace and justice. Recent political conditions in the region have made life even more difficult for Christians.

(Much of the body of this meditation is an attempt to be balanced about the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. I do not doubt the motivation and sincerity of the writers of this meditation or the fact that my own bias is making me less than objective. Still, I found the meditation to be one-sided and excessively blaming of Israel. I believe you do have to be blunt and honest in an assessment of conflict to resolve conflict. I also believe both side must feel heard and understood to trust the process. Therefore, I have left out most of this meditation)…

Palestinian Christians are caught in the middle with little hope for support from either government. The Christian population has diminished from more than 20% in 1967 to less than 2% at present. At the present rates there will be no Christians by 2020 in the land that spawned Christianity.

Throughout the Middle East, Christ is being crucified once again. This time it will be an ever slower, m ore subtle death, but a certain death, if our government doesn’t intervene on behalf of Christian brothers and sisters.

Lord, your disciples deserted you at the time of your death as a human being. Let us not desert you as our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land die a slow “death” by our apathy and inattention.

The death of Christianity is Israel is a cause for concern and prayer. The problem is far bigger than this one nation even though this nation is the birthplace of our faith. Christians in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Egypt are all facing persecution. We need to find ways to support them that does not increase their chances of being targets. We need a bridge between two worlds. We need another Francis.

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