Monday 29 March 2010

Easter Reflections 2010

Dr. Bernard Sabella, Jerusalem

In Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Easter takes on special significance. For Palestinian Christians and for thousands of pilgrims who commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, these events are reawakened in association with the same places Gethsemane, the Via Dolorosa, Golgotha and the Sepulcher of two thousand years ago.

The story of Lazarus is the most telling of the Easter saga: here is a man who physically died but was resurrected. The compassion of Jesus, individual in the case of Lazarus, was extended to all through His ultimate sacrifice on the cross and resurrection.

For us here, in the troubled land of Palestine and Israel, resurrection is yet to come. We are like Lazarus awaiting compassion.

The landscape these days confirm that spring has arrived. Yet, unlike years where the winter is generally cold, this year the rainy cold days were followed by milder sunny days. As a result we had had green shrubs and wild flowers year round. This is a miracle in itself even if it detracts from the contrast in the scenery between winter and spring.

In early springtime, before the hot summer sun reduces the green into the brownish burnt color, the landscape is a kaleidoscope of a variety of brilliant colors mixing daffodils, anemone, lilac chaste tree, corn poppy, pretty Carmelite and scores of other plants and wild flowers into a beautiful carpet of divine scenery.

Yet in this Easter as we relive resurrection and its promises and as we humbly learn from the wild flowers of the land and their survival and rebirth, we find ourselves, Palestinians and Israelis caught in the catacombs of a political process. For us Palestinians peace is in the essence of our survival as a people and as a society. For our neighbors, the Separation Wall and the control mechanisms offer a mirage of security. Without genuine peace, agreed upon by the two parties, the ground will remain fertile for more death and destruction.

The miracle of resurrection is not simply a physical one nor is it a gift without commitment. Passing from one situation to another necessitates commitment and determination. This cannot be done without a vision: be it freedom, self and group preservation or simply making peace with neighbors and accepting them.

This is the essence of the resurrection and its celebration in this Holy Week.

Dr Bernard Sabella is Executive Secretary of the Department of Services to Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East Council of Churches.

1 comment:

  1. (I am Philip and I recently came across this article which I found on the net.)


    Many are still unaware of the eccentric, 180-year-old British theory underlying the politics of American evangelicals and Christian Zionists.
    Journalist and historian Dave MacPherson has spent more than 40 years focusing on the origin and spread of what is known as the apocalyptic "pretribulation rapture" - the inspiration behind Hal Lindsey's bestsellers of the 1970s and Tim LaHaye's today.
    Although promoters of this endtime evacuation from earth constantly repeat their slogan that "it's imminent and always has been" (which critics view more as a sales pitch than a scriptural statement), it was unknown in all official theology and organized religion before 1830.
    And MacPherson's research also reveals how hostile the pretrib rapture view has been to other faiths:
    It is anti-Islam. TV preacher John Hagee has been advocating "a pre-emptive military strike against Iran." (Google "Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism.")
    It is anti-Jewish. MacPherson's book "The Rapture Plot" (see Armageddon Books etc.) exposes hypocritical anti-Jewishness in even the theory's foundation.
    It is anti-Catholic. Lindsey and C. I. Scofield are two of many leaders who claim that the final Antichrist will be a Roman Catholic. (Google "Pretrib Hypocrisy.")
    It is anti-Protestant. For this reason no major Protestant denomination has ever adopted this escapist view.
    It even has some anti-evangelical aspects. The first publication promoting this novel endtime view spoke degradingly of "the name by which the mixed multitude of modern Moabites love to be distinguished, - the Evangelical World." (MacPherson's "Plot," p. 85)
    Despite the above, MacPherson proves that the "glue" that holds constantly in-fighting evangelicals together long enough to be victorious voting blocs in elections is the same "fly away" view. He notes that Jerry Falwell, when giving political speeches just before an election, would unfailingly state: "We believe in the pretribulational rapture!"
    In addition to "The Rapture Plot," MacPherson's many internet articles include "Famous Rapture Watchers," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "America's Pretrib Rapture Traffickers," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy" and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" (massive plagiarism, phony doctorates, changing of early "rapture" documents in order to falsely credit John Darby with this view, etc.!).
    Because of his devastating discoveries, MacPherson is now No. 1 on the "hate" list of pretrib rapture leaders who love to ban or muddy up his uber-accurate findings in sources like Wikipedia - which they've almost turned into Wicked-pedia!
    There's no question that the leading promoters of this bizarre 19th century end-of-the-world doctrine are solidly pro-Israel and necessarily anti-Palestinian. In light of recently uncovered facts about this fringe-British-invented belief which has always been riddled with dishonesty, many are wondering why it should ever have any influence on Middle East affairs.
    This Johnny-come-lately view raises millions of dollars for political agendas. Only when scholars of all faiths begin to look deeply at it and widely air its "dirty linen" will it cease to be a power. It is the one theological view no one needs!
    With apologies to Winston Churchill - never has so much deception been foisted on so many by so few!