Lent/Easter 2012: Running with Perseverance

There have been a lot of questions raised lately about people who identify themselves as Palestinian. Less public attention and awareness has been given to the indigenous Christian community whose families and institutions have deep roots in the land where Jesus was born, lived and died.

As we enter this time of intentional reflection of our own faith journeys CMEP has invited Palestinian Christians with diversity of views and from many faith traditions to write their reflections on Hebrews 12:1-2.

This year’s reflections are intended to demonstrate the breadth of opinion among Palestinian Christians and to raise U.S. Christian awareness of this strong and vital community of brothers and sisters. The views of these authors do not necessarily represent the views of CMEP or its member institutions. Inclusion of a reflection does not constitute endorsement.

CMEP would like to know your response to this year’s Lent reflections resource and how you used it personally or corporately to engage your congregation more deeply in the work for peace in the Holy Land. Send any comments, ideas or feedback to Doris Warrell at Doris(at)CMEP.org. You may also share your comments, own reflections or seasonal photos at www.facebook.com/churchesmep.

There are hundreds of ways for you to help your own community increase their understanding of the Palestinian Christian community. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer prayers for peace  through justice during the prayers of the people or ask your pastor, priest or leader to add this to your church’s prayers;
  • Put an article about peace in the Holy Land in your congregation’s newsletter or website;
  • Put a notice in the bulletin or church’s email list about the availability of these reflections;
  • Read these reflections and pray for guidance and perseverance for our work together.

As together we wait in remembrance of all that God has done for us, may we also hear new voices from our Christian sisters and brothers in the Holy Land, members of the great cloud of witnesses.

- Rev. Doris Warrell, CMEP Field Director

 

CMEP Calls for Reflections by Palestinian Christians and Others

For this year’s Lent reflections, CMEP is looking for Palestinian Christians who are interested in writing a 300-400 word reflection on Hebrews 12:1-2 for publication in CMEP’s Lent/Easter 2012 spiritual resources.

Here are some questions that may be useful in your reflection:

  • As a Christian and a Palestinian, what are you able to do in response to God’s word and in the context of your own life?
  • Who are the members of your cloud of witnesses, the pioneers who blazed the way?
  • Hebrews 12:1-2 is a call for Christians to follow the examples of people who, through faith, were able to accomplish what God asked of them (see Hebrews 13). What is God asking of you in regards to the political situation between Israelis and Palestinians?
  • How does your faith help you do what God asks of you?

If you are not a Palestinian Christian, but would also like to submit a reflection, CMEP welcomes these submissions as well.

By submitting a 300-400 word reflection authors give CMEP the right to publish the reflection. Any edited reflections will be vetted with the author prior to publication. We encourage authors to submit a photo to accompany their reflection. By submitting a photo with a reflection authors declare they have the rights to submit the photo and give CMEP the right to publish that photo. Reflections will be accepted February 6, 2012 to March 22, 2012. Send all submissions in the body of the email to Doris(at)cmep.org.

Below are a few versions of the text of Hebrews 12:1-2:

(New International Version) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(New Jerusalem Bible) With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame of it, and has taken his seat at the right of God's throne.

(Good News) As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne.

(New Jerusalem Bible) With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame of it, and has taken his seat at the right of God's throne.

(The Message) Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.

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