Dear Brothers and Sisters,
During Holy Week, we journey with Jesus from scenes of temporal victory, through the shadows of betrayal, denial, and into the hideous darkness of sin. Finally our hearts rise with Christ on Easter Sunday, when we celebrate his glorious resurrection and the redemption of the world – the most significant event in all of history.
Palm Sunday was a day of apparent triumph: the crowds adored Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. They cheered, "Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" What a day of victory and honor it seemed to be. But only a few days later that Jesus was hanging on the cross, dying in agony and leaving his followers despairing and hopeless.
In hindsight, we can see that Good Friday is not the end of the story. Thank God for the dawn of Easter Sunday, when Jesus was resurrected and the apparent "defeat" of Good Friday is overwhelmed by Easter triumph. The power of sin and death are broken in one stunning victory – the gates of Hell could not contain him! We Christians still celebrate this living God in victory 2000+ years later.
The Arab Christians of the Holy Land feel connected to this story of spiritual victory because they follow the events not only in their hearts and minds, but also in their land. As we all pray for their deliverance from the despair and fear that plagues their lives, we should also remember their message to us: "We in the Holy Land will always have hope for new light, new peace, and new life because we, living in this land, have had some experience with resurrection."
On behalf of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and the Holy Land Christians, I send you joyful Easter greetings. The Palestinian Christians live in eternal hope that the present earthly burdens of occupation, war and oppression will soon give way to the triumph of love and mercy. They will live through the sorrow of Good Friday, but they know Easter is on the way. They hope that Easter comes in power to the Holy Land – for a turning to take place, from injustice to justice to mercy. They hope all of God's children can work together and live together – Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike – and that the witness of God's glory in the Holy Land will be a light to all the world.
Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here, he has risen! Luke 24:5-6.
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS