Holy Land Readings, Prayers and Worship

To help pilgrims to the Holy Land engage in worship and prayerful reflection on some of the historic sites and present challenges found in the area, I wrote this booklet. It is available as a PDF download and can also be read below.

Contents

Introduction
Readings
Jerusalem Meditation
Prayers
Morning worship
Evening worship
Holy Communion in the Holy Land
Church of Scotland Partners
Church of Scotland Institutions
Further Reading

Introduction: Experiencing the Holy Land

I first came to the Holy Land in 1998 in a clergy group who were encouraged to bring pilgrims from local churches. It was an unforgettable experience, though the Second Intifada in 2000 dashed any tour plans.

That visit helped me develop a sense of place and distance. I saw the sorts of terrain through which Jesus might have travelled; I looked out on the hills, sea and river which he would have seen. I gained some notion of the locations where he ministered and I felt the stark contrast between peaceful Galilee and the bustle – and threat – of Jerusalem. The trip’s focus was on the historic sites, so much so that it almost entirely ignored the contemporary situation. It seemed faith was a retreat, or perhaps an adventure, into the past. We hardly negotiated a checkpoint and stayed only briefly in Bethlehem.

I visited again in 2014, mainly to find out about the Church of Scotland congregations and institutions. Meeting some of the Kirk’s partners allowed me to learn first-hand about their work, and discover something of the challenge of the present situation. This visit was altogether different: although we travelled through the same land and did visit some ancient sites, we focused more on current issues and present experiences of those living both in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.

The complexity of the whole setting and situation became more obvious—and less clear. The displacement of three-quarters of a million Arab refugees from Israel (and of a similar number of Jews from Arab lands) during the conflict and confusion of 1948 still impacts the lives of many millions today. Almost fifty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem (recently supported by the United States but not by the global community in general) and the blockade of Gaza presents an enduring hardship for millions of people.

Non-Jewish Israeli citizens, one fifth of the country’s population in what is the only democratic state in the Middle East, suffer significant discrimination for a number of reasons. The continuing construction of settlements and non-sanctioned outposts in the occupied West Bank in breach of international law seems difficult to square with a nation which is committed to justice and the rule of law.

All of this is happening in the land where, centuries before, the prophets had called for justice, mercy and peace; and where Jesus told stories which challenged his hearers to be neighbours across ethnic divides. This is the land where the then-occupying military force bowed to popular pressure and crucified him. And in these hills and towns his followers first spoke of having met him raised from death.
Probably on a small, stony beach on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the risen Jesus invited his friends to enjoy his company again and to give their lives to serve his kingdom-bearing mission. There, he spoke with Peter about love, forgiveness and lifelong service.

It was during this visit I sensed a powerful combination of faith in the Jesus whom I had learned to trust as a child growing up in a quite sectarian part of central Scotland, and his irresistible invitation to engage with others in a transforming life of love. The combination of these thoughts against the backdrop of the painful present reality for many people in this land touched me quite deeply, though it did not result in my taking the sort of step of extensive commitment which at least one other member of the group took. The partners asked simply that those who had come to see would return home and tell; I felt obliged to try to do that.

However, I though my response should be, if possible, to try to share these real stories through the words of the people whom I’d met. So I visited this land again in the autumn of 2017. This time I spent six weeks travelling around as much of Israel and the West Bank as I could manage. Colleagues generously gave me lifts, but mostly I went on the bus. I talked to as many people as possible, from as broad a selection of views as I was able to find, and I recorded what they said to me. Some of this found its way into a documentary film, Between the Lines, which I hope gives a flavour of some of the issues from a range of perspectives.

These three experiences have changed my life. They have forced me to listen more deeply, to think more carefully, to feel more frustration and pain than I find comfortable, and not to give up. I met people from across the religious, cultural and political divides whose commitment to peace was remarkable; I came across deeply painful divisions which reminded me of some of my experiences growing up in West Lothian.

I also saw something of the steady, faithful presence of Christian people among whom the Church of Scotland has a real place. They are striving to replace ignorance with understanding, endeavouring to grasp complicated and subtle issues in greater detail, and engage fully with the cultures, unspoken assumptions and background influences which are deep and always present.

All this, I found, right here amongst the fields and flowers Isaiah used as illustrations in his prophecies and which I remember my Minister preaching about. I discovered my faith was made more real among the stones and stairs in Jerusalem, near where I imagined Jeremiah might have wept, and among the hills and hamlets Jesus walked as he made evident God’s coming reign of justice, peace and life.

There is still a need for God’s justice with peace to be put into practice all over the world, and not least in this Holy Land. I found in my visits that the combination of historic tale and present challenge was inspiring and unsettling; I hope you might discover this, too.

I wonder if, having visited, you will feel a call to make God’s promises in Christ more apparent in places of pain and despair, and be part of the effort which is still sorely needed, that light might shine in darkness.

Augustine of Hippo said that hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are Anger and Courage: Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain so. Through this pilgrimage I’d like you to become better acquainted with them.

Most of all, though, I hope we might come to know more fully and richly the Christ who walked once in the places where we shall walk and who promises us his presence now in our time; and who walks with us in these days of our living. May such a God work within and among us in our pilgrimage together to enable us to give our lives more completely to Christ as people of courageous faith. Then, wherever we find ourselves, may we be disciples of Jesus who, in him, always hope—and never give up.
Grant Barclay

Readings

Galilee

Isaiah 5
The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing:
‘Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine;
a homer of seed will yield only an ephah of grain.’

Matthew 4
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Matthew 8
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralysed, suffering terribly.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’
The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.

Matthew 17
After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, ‘Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?’
‘Yes, he does,’ he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. ‘What do you think, Simon?’ he asked. ‘From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own children or from others?’
‘From others,’ Peter answered.
‘Then the children are exempt,’ Jesus said to him. ‘But so that we may not cause offence, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.’

Matthew 9
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

Mark 1
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’
‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.’ News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Mark 9
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’

John 6
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Nazareth and Cana

Matthew 2
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’
So [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Luke 1
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’

John 2
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’
‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’
His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from eighty to a hundred and twenty litres.
Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’

Luke 4
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked.
Jesus said to them, ‘Surely you will quote this proverb to me: “Physician, heal yourself!” And you will tell me, “Do here in your home town what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.”’
‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.’
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

John 19
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.

Mount Tabor : House of Grace : Tabeetha School : Physicians for Human Rights Israel

Mark 9
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’

Psalm 68
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the Lord—
be exultant before him.
Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.

Psalm 147
Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted,
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jericho : Jordan Baptismal Site : B’Tselem

Mark 1
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight”’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Numbers 33
In the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelites, and say to them: When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their figured stones, destroy all their cast images, and demolish all their high places. You shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. You shall apportion the land by lot according to your clans; to a large one you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small one you shall give a small inheritance; the inheritance shall belong to the person on whom the lot falls; according to your ancestral tribes you shall inherit. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides; they shall trouble you in the land where you are settling. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.

Mark 10
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Luke 10
But wanting to justify himself, the lawyer asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.’ …

Luke 19
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’

Genesis 1
Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

East Jerusalem : Rabbis for Human Rights : Sabeel Palestinian Liberation Theology Centre

Deuteronomy 10
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven.

Micah 6
‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Matthew 23
‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”’

Luke 19
Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
‘Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!’
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’

Isaiah 11:6-10
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Keep Hope Alive Olive Project : Tent of Nations : Bethlehem

Psalm 1
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

1Kings 21
Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. And Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.’ But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.’ Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, ‘I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.’ He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.
His wife Jezebel came to him and said, ‘Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?’ He said to her, ‘Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, “Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it”; but he answered, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’ His wife Jezebel said to him, ‘Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. She wrote in the letters, ‘Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, “You have cursed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him to death.’ The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, ‘Naboth cursed God and the king.’ So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, ‘Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.’

Micah 5
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

Genesis 35
Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel was in childbirth, and she had a difficult labour. When she was in her difficult labour, the midwife said to her, ‘Do not be afraid; for now you will have another son.’ As her soul was departing (for she died), she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem), and Jacob set up a pillar at her grave; it is the pillar of Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day.

Matthew 2
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Luke 2
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

Luke 19
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’

Hebron : South Hebron Hills

Genesis 13:14-18
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northwards and southwards and eastwards and westwards; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring for ever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’ So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Genesis 23
Sarah lived for one hundred and twenty-seven years; this was the length of Sarah’s life. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. Abraham rose up from beside his dead, and said to the Hittites, ‘I am a stranger and an alien residing among you; give me property among you for a burying-place, so that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’ The Hittites answered Abraham, ‘Hear us, my lord; you are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold from you any burial ground for burying your dead.’ Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. He said to them, ‘If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron son of Zohar, so that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field.

So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, passed to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it passed from the Hittites into Abraham’s possession as a burying-place.

Genesis 50
When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, ‘If now I have found favour with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: My father made me swear an oath; he said, “I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.” Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return.’ Pharaoh answered, ‘Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.’
So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. … They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

Checkpoint 300 : Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme : Yad Vashem

Psalm 118
All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees;
they blazed like a fire of thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.’
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

Revelation 3:17-22
For you say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’

Revelation 21
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. … I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations.

Jerusalem Meditation

This adaptation of the Stations of the Cross reflects the scriptural account of Christ’s passion and incorporates events which occurred earlier in Holy Week.

Prayer

God of power and mercy, in love you sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin,
be renewed to serve you in love and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect on his suffering and death
and rejoice in his glorious resurrection
that, as we follow in his steps,
we may learn from his example the way we should go
And know his living presence within and among us, now and for ever.
We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Jesus enters Jerusalem
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:6-11
Lord: give us a lively faith
that we may enthusiastically acclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Jesus cleanses the Temple
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13
Lord: grant us depth of devotion
that we may seek you above all that the world offers.

Jesus is anointed at Bethany
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.” Matthew 26:6-7,10-12
Lord: give us generous hearts
that we may gladly offer you our whole lives in devoted service.

Jesus institutes the Last Supper
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29
Lord: give us the ability to remember
that we may recognise Jesus broken for the life of the world.

Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:36-41
Lord: grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things.

Jesus, betrayed by Judas, is arrested
Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. Mark 14: 43-46
Lord: grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” Luke 22: 66-71
Lord: grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

Jesus is denied by Peter
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. Matthew 26: 69-75
Lord: grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

Jesus is judged by Pilate
The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified. Mark 15: 1-5, 15
Lord: grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly. John 19: 1-3
Lord: grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

Jesus bears the Cross
When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. John 19: 6, 15-17
Lord: grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrenian to carry the Cross
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Mark 15: 21
Lord: grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” Luke 23: 27-31
Lord: grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

Jesus is crucified
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”] Luke 23: 33-34
Lord: grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

Jesus promises his Kingdom to one crucified alongside him
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43
Lord, grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

Jesus speaks to his mother and the disciple
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27
Lord: grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

Jesus dies on the Cross
It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Luke 23: 44-46
Lord: grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth is ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

Jesus is placed in the tomb
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. Matthew 27: 57-60
Lord: grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
As we have reflected on these mysteries
so may we follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus is raised from death
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ Matthew 28:1-10

After his suffering, Jesus presented himself alive to the apostles by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Acts 1:3-5

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ Acts 1:8

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. Acts 1:12-14

Lord Jesus Christ, Risen One:
We acclaim you as the One who has triumphed over sin and death.
We place our hope in you as the Source of the world’s life.
As we have walked and remembered events here long ago
enable us by your Spirit to recognise your presence in our world now
and walk with you in faithful service and joyful living
until we see you face to face in glory
and there worship you with the whole company of heaven. Amen.

Prayers

God of justice,
bless those who work for peace through justice.
Strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence.
Guide the leaders of the people of the Middle East
to know your will and to support a just peace for all of your children.
God of love, lifting up the holy land for all humankind,
breathe love and compassion into our prayers
with a desire for nothing other than peace:
peace in our hearts, peace for all creation,
and especially peace in the land that is called holy.
God of hope, we lift up the city of Jerusalem, distracted and divided,
yet still filled with promise as all the cities of the world.
Come again into our cities, places of worship,
Upper Rooms and Gethsemanes,
that we may be given sight to recognize you.
God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in Palestine and Israel and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of the Holy Land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.
God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, give us faith in you that we may be strengthened to care for all those in need until the coming of your son, our Saviour and Lord. Amen. Church of Scotland World Mission Council

God with us,
in the place which is the focus for celebrations on Christmas Day,
we remember Bethlehem as it is today:
still occupied, still a place of division and fear.
God with us, in whom there is neither Jew nor Gentile;
in the land of Christ’s birth
come to the hungry places, bringing hope,
come to the dark places, bringing justice,
come to the lonely places, bringing love.
Come again in Bethlehem,
come in us, and through us, and even despite us.
That all may join the angels’ song.
Glory to God in the highest heaven.
All hail, let there be joy. Amen. Church of Scotland World Mission Council
Spirit of the living God,
come afresh on your holy land.
Help your people to restore broken relationships.
Give them patience to break down barriers of suspicion and mistrust;
ability to discern personal prejudices and the courage to overcome fear.
Teach them to respect each other’s integrity and rights
so that your kingdom may be established on earth.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Rt Rev Riah Abu El-Assal,from In God’s Hands, WCC

God of peace,
encourage those who seek to establish a fair and just peace in the Middle East. Bless their efforts as they work to end conflict. Lead those who engage in violence to put down their weapons and to live in peace with one another.
God, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
God of justice, bless those who work for peace through justice. Strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence. Guide the leaders of the peoples of the Middle East to know your will and to support a just peace for all of your children.
God in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
God of love, lifting up the holy land for all humankind, breathe love and compassion into our prayers with a desire for nothing other than peace: peace in our hearts, peace for all creation, and especially peace in the land that is called holy.
God in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of
this holy land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.
God in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, give us faith in you that we may be strengthened to care for all those in need until the coming of your son, our Saviour and Lord. Amen. ACT Palestine

We pray for the torn and divided peoples
of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq;
for refugees and uprooted families;
for all living in camps and for those who assist them,
and for all who have been bereaved, injured and traumatized.
Especially at this time, we pray for all who suffer in the midst of conflict and attack. We pray for Israelis living with the threat of rocket fire, for Palestinians in the West Bank subjected to the violation of their civil liberties and human rights and living under the constraints of military occupation and settler harassment.
We pray for the people of Gaza, living under blockade and repeated military bombardment, adding fear to the misery of poverty and want. We pray for those people of Jerusalem who, in their hostility and division, strive for exclusive control and are unwilling to share in compassionate collaboration even as they are urged on by powers far removed from the local situation. Give fresh leadership and a renewed determination to live peaceably together.
In particular we pray for children and young people caught up in terror beyond their understanding or control. We pray for those who have been killed, maimed, bereaved; those who have had their future torn away from them; those whose lives are bleak, lacking opportunity, mobility and hope. We repent of our complicity in silence, our closing our eyes to the needs and well-being of the children and our failure to reject the ways of violence, threat and injustice.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our peace and our hope. Amen
Church of Scotland World Mission Council

Pray not for Arab or Jew, for Palestinian or Israeli,
but pray rather for ourselves,
that we might not divide them in our prayers
but keep them both together in our hearts.
When races fight: Peace be amongst us.
When neighbours argue: Peace be amongst us.
When nations disagree: Peace be amongst us.
Where people struggle for justice: Let justice prevail.
Where Christ’s disciples follow
Let peace be our way. Amen.
Church of Scotland World Mission Council

Merciful and loving God,
we give you thanks
for the many blessings you have so graciously given us.
Thank you for your presence and guidance as we walk the way of peace.
Bless the work of Sabeel and its friends, local and international.
Guide its ecumenical, interfaith, and justice ministries.
Grant us all the courage to confront oppression.
Strengthen our commitment to the work of justice, peace, and reconciliation among all people
and especially between Palestinians and Israelis.
Help us all to see your image in each other.
Empower us to stand up for truth
and to respect the dignity of every human being.
And to you alone be glory and honour now and forever. Amen.
Sabeel prayer

Capernaum
Lord Jesus Christ, as you lived in this seaside village you taught with authority, healed those troubled in body and mind, were startled at a centurion’s faith and denounced the lacklustre response of those who were your neighbours. Help us, walking streets which may have been familiar to you, to recognise your compassionate authority and eagerly accept your call to follow and serve you; for you are Lord of life whose yoke is easy and burden light. Amen.

Tagbha
Generous God who supplies enough that all may be fed and who, around here, took a boy’s meagre offering and transformed it into a feast for thousands: fill us with faith and a spirit of extravagant generosity that we might willingly give to you what we have – our wealth, possessions, time, skills and more – and know the joy of contributing to the nourishment of many, through the Lord of loaves and fishes. Amen.

Mount of Beatitudes
Lord Jesus, you may have climbed from the side of the familiar lake, and you may have looked out on this scene of hills and sea, well known to you; but your teaching to the crowd offered a new view of things,. You proclaimed blessing in unlikely places, and invited any who were willing to travel far from familiar emotions and settled ways. We bring to you those whose spirits are poor, those who mourn, the meek, those hungry for righteousness, those who are merciful, pure in heart and set on making peace. We find ourselves among them in different ways and we seek your grace to journey forward at your invitation. We do not forget those who suffer today, not least for their faith in you; and pray that you will bless them richly and securely and permanently; for your name’s sake. Amen.

Bi’ram
We readily admit that we do not understand the complexities, the nuances, the forces sitting beneath the surface which compel people to act in various ways; but we recognise in abandoned villages the end of security, the division of families and a deep challenge to hope, as well as an enduring longing to return. God to whom peaceful dwelling-places and secure homes matter, we pray for those forced to flee from their homes in many parts of the world in recent years, and those living as successive generations of refugees. Bring the day to pass when all shall have shelter from the wind and refuge from the storm and live at peace, with justice, in a place they can call home; through Christ. Amen.

Sea of Galilee
Catches of fish far exceeding expectation at your instruction to cast nets again. Fear of death in the storm which grew calm at your word. A brash thought of walking on water just like you, Lord, which you didn’t discourage. They, and more, took place here. In one of the lowest points on the earth’s surface, your followers knew the heights of being in the company of someone the wind and waves obeyed, whose call to labour resulted in a full catch, whose hand stopped Peter sinking beneath the waves. In the demands of continued work, in the storms of life and in the real fear of being overwhelmed and engulfed: come close to those who need you, Jesus of Genessaret, and let your peace reign. Amen.

Basilica of Annunciation
‘Let it be to me as you have said,’ replied a young girl who must have been concerned about what the future held. Lord whose promises and purposes are not always for our ease or comfort but who nonetheless chooses always to work through people in particular times and places, may we have the faith which Mary showed, the confidence in you she expressed and the willingness to be your servant which she sets as an example to us; that we may faithfully do your will and aspire to be good and faithful servants of the One whom Mary bore, Jesus who is Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.

Nazareth Village
Carpenter from this town, you were skilled in making things both useful and beautiful from the rough wood which grew around. Fashion us, made – as all humankind – in the image of God that our lives may be transformed by you to be both both useful to you you and lovely in your sight; and help us entrust ourselves to your carving, shaping, and renewing; to the glory of God. Amen.

Sindyanna Visitors Centre, Cana
God of Hannah, of Esther and Abigail, of Mary and Lydia, we pray for the work of women across the world: we give thanks for cooperation and partnership, recognise that many experience only hard graft and little time off, are ashamed at the continued exploitation, particularly of girls and women, for sex or cheap labour; and pray for a shift in thinking across the globe that women, and their work, may be held in higher regard and that the principles of nurture, friendship and love might be embedded more deeply in our common life; for they are signs of your kingdom among us. Amen.

We recognise the benefits which Fair Trade brings particularly to small and marginalised communities and are grateful for the economic freedom which we have which enables us to choose to support, financially and therefore directly, those things which lie close to our hearts. In asking for blessing for Sindyanna we remember also the many women’s cooperatives and collective industries worldwide, that they may prosper to provide security, nourishment and hope for women, children and men in all sorts of places; in the name of Christ. Amen.

Megiddo
In a place which speaks of destruction of nation by nation remind us, God of peace, that your will is for reconciliation and that your heavenly city, far larger than the Plain of Megiddo, has at its centre the tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of those same nations. Inspire us to work for your peace in your world, in our homes, within ourselves. Amen.

Mount Tabor
Jesus Christ, you revealed your glory to your disciples on the mountain and immediately returned to the pain of human life; give us insight in the midst of our weakness, failure and ordinariness to understand that our companion is none other than you, the Lord of Glory. Amen.

House of Grace, Haifa
As you call us to welcome the stranger and visit those in prison, we ask that you will bless those who welcome strangers into their home and discover a richness in hospitality, as those who walk alongside those who have received back their liberty to support the growth of all that is good; and in this place that you will strengthen, lead and bless those who seek to do both things in this House of Grace. Amen.

Tabeetha School, Jaffa
As you were found among scholars and believers in Jerusalem, Lord Jesus, we thank you for all that we received through our schooling and education; and pray for those presently at school, or in further education, or who have returned to study after many years or for the first time in later life. Help us to cherish learning, not keeping it for our own possession but, instead, sharing freely with others that wisdom may flourish. May those who learn in this place grow well that they may enrich many lives; for your name’s sake. Amen.

Physicians for Human Rights Israel
Jesus Christ our Healer, your concern was to restore individuals to wholeness, to reconcile enemies that they may be friends, and to redeem humankind. We remember all those whose life’s work is to bring health and healing in body and mind; those who serve others by resolving disputes, mediating and enabling the first steps to be taken towards a renewed friendship; and those who make known your redeeming grace; and we pray for them in your name. Amen.

Princess Basma Centre
You called for the children to be allowed to come to you, Lord Jesus, and warned those with power to put no stumbling-block in the way of your little ones: encourage and inspire with patience, enthusiasm and love all those whose service is to enable children and young people to have life which is as full as it can be; give resilience to parents challenged by providing or resourcing long-term care; and help us see the value of every person in whom you have placed your image. Amen.

Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation
Lord, it can be so easy, so comfortable, only to meet with those who think like us. We may choose never to step beyond agreed values, shared beliefs, or principles held in common. Since you call us to take the gospel of Christ to the whole world it must be your will that we encounter well those whose views and ways of thinking and aspirations are very different from ours. Lead us from ignorance to some measure of understanding, from judging to some sense of compassion, from conflict to seek peace and pursue it. Inspire, particularly, those who make for peace in places of long-standing hostility and conflict, even as we trust your promise that peacemakers are blessed; through he who is the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Jericho
In this city where the kingdom of God arrived to a man in a tree whose social conscience was energised, and where a blind man sitting at the side of the road was healed as Jesus paid him attention, help us to recognise the value of human life and the importance of right dealings with one another. Let justice flourish in these streets, in this land, across your world, through Christ. Amen.

Baptism: the Jordan River
Through the waters of the Jordan your people of old walked as they came into the Promised Land; through the same waters people responded to John’s preaching and prepared themselves for the coming Messiah. Jesus identified with a needy human race as he was baptised as one of us, and then heard his Father’s acclamation of delight. Renew us in our spirits, God of living water, that we may be ready to encounter your Word of Life afresh and be led into places of your choosing, citizens of your new society always willing to welcome others through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dead Sea
It gives us little sense of privilege, Creator God, to live in the last generation which shall be able to swim in the Dead Sea. In the face of increasing drought as more water is required to slake the thirst of growing numbers of people and to grow enough food, and where those who are most vulnerable are first to suffer the consequences of climate change, we pray that you will give a renewed sense of collective responsibility to all the earth’s citizens, that we may reduce the damage caused to our fragile planet’s life systems. Enable us to express our faith through responsible living, to your glory. Amen.

B’Tselem
God who, through Isaiah the prophet, instructed your people to stop doing wrong but, instead, to learn to do right and to seek justice; and who enjoined them to defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow: give strength to those who stand up and speak up for human rights in this land and in many places; that we may honour your image in every human being and live together in a just peace. Amen.

East Jerusalem
We hear the Psalmist call us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem but cannot see how, in such a divided city and in a world of polarised views, such a peace may be won. Yet we pray, in hope, believing that your desire is for justice for the orphan, the widow and the dispossessed and that your purposes for this city are for healing and wholeness and reconciliation. Amen.

Keep Hope Alive Olive Project
As we recall Job’s hope was uprooted like a tree so we pray for those whose activity, in planting olive trees, invests hope in this land; we pray for those who tend their olive groves despite lack water or adequate access to the land, that they may not give up hope; and we pray in hope that a right relationship with this land may be found by all who have historic ties with it, that there may be equitable sharing of the earth and the bounty it produces. Amen.

Tent of Nations
Lord Jesus, whose instruction was to turn the other cheek to our enemies who strike us: give courage to those who, in the face of persistent challenge refuse to be enemies, refuse to be victims, and refuse to hate; that your truth may be lived out even in the midst of oppression and the present denial of justice, and that right may soon prevail. Amen.

Bethlehem
God who, in Christ, stooped tenderly towards humankind that our race may be lifted to the height of your throne: give all people, and us, to know that you are the God present with us that, knowing your companionship, we may follow where you lead and work with you for justice and peace across the whole earth; in the name of Christ. Amen.

Hebron
In this burial-place of our common father in the faith Abraham where, today, streets cannot be shared and markets lie deserted, give humankind insight that we may share our heritage and be informed by it to live together in peace, with justice. Amen.

South Hebron Hills
It is easier to imagine the crocus bursting into bloom in the desert, gracious God, than that justice will be seen amidst the grabbing of land, the denial of basic services and the trampling underfoot of legitimate property rights. As we know the plight of the oppressed is close to your heart and as we hear your call to seek justice and pursue it, so we pray for those who administer justice in these places: that equity will rule and will prevail over security concerns, that communities will make accommodations so that they may live peaceably together, and that those things which are needed for life will not be given to one group and denied to another, but will be freely shared for the good of all; in the name of Christ. Amen.

Checkpoint 300
Almighty God, the gates to whose heavenly city shall never be closed, we pray for those whose daily experience is one of locked gates, denied permissions, delayed travel, disrupted plans, with-held medical aid and economic hardship imposed through the practices of the continued occupation by Israel of the West Bank; and we ask for a greater resolve that we may contribute positively in the days ahead to a future of security, justice, peace and prosperity for all in these rich, and troubled, lands. Amen.

Personal Prayer

Morning worship
Saturday

Opening
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah;
and his servants shall live there and possess it;
the children of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall live in it. Psalm 69

Prayer
Almighty God,
you have created the heavens and the earth
and made humankind in your image.
Teach us, this day, to discern your hand in all your works
in generations past, and in this day,
that we may serve you with reverence and thanksgiving:
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit,
reigns supreme over all things
now and for evermore. Amen.

Reading Matthew 4

Reflection

Prayer
Gracious God, the light of your kingdom dawned on those who sat in darkness as your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, walked along the foreshore and invited ordinary fishermen, fellow residents and workers in his newly-adopted village, to follow him. Help us to walk in your light today that we, now, may respond to your invitation to us to follow you, Saviour who has moved into our neighbourhood. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your name’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday

Opening
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart.
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord! Psalm 104

Prayer
Lord of light and life, growth and glory,
providing for humankind through the seasons and in times of celebration:
make us open to receive all your good gifts,
insightful to recognise their source in you, and
grateful that we may gladly offer you thanksgiving and praise
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading Luke 4

Reflection

Prayer
Scripture-fulfilling, good-news proclaiming, freedom-giving Lord: to worshippers and wedding-guests you declared and demonstrated that the coming kingdom of God found its focus on life lived in right relationship among people with generosity and grace in abundance and all resourced from your gracious favour. Give us your grace, this day, that we may hear these words afresh and respond in faith to your global mission of justice and joy; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday

Opening
Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31

Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God in perfect and everlasting fellowship,
living and reigning in the perfect unity of love.
Hold us firm in this faith,
that we may know you in all our ways,
seek to encourage unity in love
among those of all ages and cultures
and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,
three Persons in one God,
now and forever. Amen.

Reading Psalm 147

Reflection

Prayer
God whose glory is seen not only in splendour on the mountain-top but in the struggle against sin and evil and in the example of a small, trusting child placed centre-stage amongst adults: give us grace to perceive the signs of your kingdom around us that we may give you glad worship, tell these things to those who walk with us and come after us, and strive for dignity for all humankind, you creation; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday

Opening
My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank-offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalm 56

Prayer
Almighty God, through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
you overcame the old order of death to make all things new in him:
grant that we, dying to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity. Amen.

Reading Acts 1

Reflection

Prayer
Our faith finds its focus in the events which we recall in this city. It is, variously, a place of accusation and of forgiveness, of betrayal and faithful steadfastness, of despair and glorious hope. Yet we do not trust in this city but in the Lord whose determination to enter it was continued in his passion, crucifixion and death; and whose obedience to you, living God, was vindicated as you raised Christ from the tomb. Raise us, we pray, from the death of self-centredness, weakness and despair that your Spirit may give us life to serve you wholeheartedly all our days as we follow our crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday

Opening
A voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ Mark 11

Prayer
Almighty God, your Spirit descended upon your Son at his baptism
and you revealed him as your beloved Son:
inspire us, your children,
born of water and the Holy Spirit,
to give our lives wholly to your service
that we may delight to be called the children of God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading Luke 19

Reflection

Prayer
All-embracing God, your salvation is found as justice triumphs over greed and your beloved Son’s presence is the catalyst for restoring right relationships among people, and with you. Help us to pursue in our lives your justice, filled with generosity and grace, that we may contribute to the advance of your kingdom amongst all people; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday

Opening
I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare; when it falls, you shall perish within it; and you shall know that I am the Lord. Thus I will spend my wrath upon the wall, and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash; and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it— the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for it, when there was no peace, says the Lord God. Ezekiel 13:14-16

Prayer
Almighty God, your will is to restore all things in Christ,
your beloved Son, the king of all:
lead the hearts and minds of all those in authority
and bring the families of nations and people-groups,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to live in peace together
as they are subject to Christ’s gentle and just rule;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading Isaiah 11:6-10

Reflection

Prayer
We pray for peace, gracious God, for this divided city and its various peoples, keenly aware that decisions taken far from here play a significant role and that deals are struck and understandings reached about which we know nothing. But we do know what injustice and oppression can look like, and we pray against the practices in this place which run counter to your laws for life and richer relationships as we pray for those who seek justice, work for healing, and strive that righteousness prevail, and that justice, and only justice, shall be the pursuit of all those who live in and occupy this land.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday

Opening
God’s love for us was revealed when God sent his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 1John 4:9

Prayer
Almighty God, who wonderfully created us in your own image
and more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share our humanity,
so may we share in the life of his divinity;
Christ, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Reading Luke 2

Reflection

Prayer
God, who reigns in highest heaven and who wills peace across the earth and among the peoples of the world: we come to a place about which we learned almost before we could talk, a stable with straw, a manger, a man and a woman compelled by the occupying forces to travel far; and a child, worshipped by shepherds and adored by wise travellers from far away, before being forced to flee to a foreign land. As we stand on a hillside outside Bethlehem and hear of present-day struggles against powerful forces we pray that the hope which his birth brought and his life fulfilled may strengthen us and those whom we meet in our common resolve to worship Christ, seek justice, and promote peace; for his name’s sake. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday

Opening
Then Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba; this Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. And the land had rest from war. Joshua 14:13-15

Prayer
Generous and ever-providing God
we give you grateful thanks for your great goodness
in providing humankind with the fruits of the land in their season.
Give us grace not only to use these gifts wisely
but to share them fairly with others who share this land
that the needs of many may be met
and those in need be given all they need;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading Genesis 13:14-18

Reflection

Prayer
God who lives in constant unity in three Persons, who loves what is right ,
and who received hospitality from Abraham by the oaks at Mamre:
help us to listen attentively to voices of oppression and pain
who are denied rights to settle in this area
or who receive no sense of hospitality,
that we may gain insight into the pain of division and the consequences of greed
and be led in your righteousness that we may live to praise you,
through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday

Opening
So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:7-10

Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have provided the resources of the world to maintain the life of your children,
and have so ordered our life that we are dependent upon each other.
We pray for those whose daily work is so hedged around with challenge
that they are tempted to give up.
As you have given the knowledge and means to produce plenty,
give the will to make it available to all;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading Revelation 3:17-22

Reflection

Prayer
Hospitable God, whose Son seeks welcome in the common life of humankind and who wills that others be welcomed and not excluded, we pray that you will plant deep within us a concern for those who are shut out, and a deep desire to see justice prevail in many human endeavours and relationships; and prompt us to live as those who are grateful as we become increasingly aware of your generous providing, supplying all our needs all our days. Amen.

Collect
As we walk in places familiar to you in your earthly life, Lord Jesus, and of which we have heard throughout our lives, remind us that you walk alongside us. Give us depth of insight, that those things from the past which we encounter may inform and inspire our faithful living for you now.
Through stones and stories, places and people, speak to us of your constant call to seek your justice, to work for your peace, and to know and celebrate your life always at work in your world, in and through us.
Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever: leave us not unchanged. Transform us through our seeing, hearing, thinking and speaking, that our lives may declare the glory of the God who made sea and dry land and who, in the Word made flesh, walked where we walk and called all to come, and follow, and live. For your glory’s sake. Amen.

Blessing
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Evening Worship

Saturday

Hymn
O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love;
interpreted by love!

Prayer
Heavenly Father,
who brought new life to the world
in the resurrection of Christ our Lord:
grant our days to be filled with his life
and our world to be changed for ever.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Cantemus Domino (The Song of Moses and Miriam)
All: In your unfailing love, O Lord,
you lead the people whom you have redeemed.
1 I will sing to the Lord, who has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider have been thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song
and has become my salvation.
3 This is my God whom I will praise
the God of my forebears whom I will exalt.
4 The Lord fights for his people,
the Lord is his name.
5 Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power:
your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
6 At the blast of your nostrils, the sea covered them;
they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
7 In your unfailing love, O Lord,
you lead the people whom you have redeemed,
8 And by your invincible strength
you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
9 You will bring them in and plant them, O Lord,
in the sanctuary which your hands have established. Exodus 15. 1b-2, 6a, 11-12a, 13-18
All: In your unfailing love, O Lord,
you lead the people whom you have redeemed.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Sunday

Hymn
O sing a song of Nazareth,
of sunny days of joy;
O sing a fragrant flowers’ breath,
and of the sinless Boy:
for now the flowers of Nazareth
in every heart may grow;
now spreads the fame of his dear Name
on all the winds that blow.

Prayer
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross,
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Exultavit cor meum (The Song of Hannah)
All: Blessèd are those who believe,
for what God has promised will be fulfilled.
1 My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
2 My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
3 There is no Holy One like you, O Lord,
nor any Rock like you, our God.
4 For you are a God of knowledge
and by you our actions are weighed.
5 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
6 Those who were full now search for bread,
but those who were hungry are well fed.
7 The barren woman has borne sevenfold,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
8 Both the poor and the rich are of your making;
you bring low and you also exalt.
9 You raise up the poor from the dust,
and lift the needy from the ash heap.
10 You make them sit with the rulers
and inherit a place of honour.
11 For the pillars of the earth are yours
and on them you have set the world. 1 Samuel 2. 1-8
All: Blessèd are those who believe
for what God has promised will be fulfilled.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Monday

Hymn
Sing of Andrew, called by Jesus
from the shores of Galilee,
leaving boats and nets and kindred,
trusting in that ‘Follow me.’
When a boy’s small meal fed thousands,
when inquiring Greeks found care,
when the Spirit came in blessing-
Andrew faithfully was there.

Prayer
God, your love for all has no end:
when we turned away to darkness and chaos,
like a mother you would not forsake us.
You cried out like a woman in labour
and rejoiced to bring forth a new people.
Your living Word brings light out of darkness
and daily your Spirit renews the face of the earth,
inclining our wills to the gentle rule of your love,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessèd be God for ever! Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Carissimi, diligamus nos invicem (A Song of God’s Love)
All: God’s love was revealed among us
so that we might live through Jesus.
1 Belovèd, let us love one another,
for love is of God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
2 Whoever does not love does not know God,
for God is love.
3 In this the love of God was revealed among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
4 In this is love,
not that we loved God but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.
5 Belovèd, since God loved us so much,
we ought also to love one another.
6 For if we love one another, God abides in us,
and God’s love will be perfected in us. 1 John 4. 7-11
All: God’s love was revealed among us
so that we might live through Jesus.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Tuesday

Hymn
O sing a song of Calvary,
its glory and dismay;
of him who hung upon the tree,
and took our sins away:
for he who died on Calvary
is risen from the grave,
and Christ, our Lord, by heaven adored,
is mighty now to save.

Prayer
God,
through the mighty resurrection
of your Son, Jesus Christ,
you have freed us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your love.
Grant that, as he was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
so we may walk in newness of life
and seek those things which are above,
where with you, Father, and the Holy Spirit,
he is alive and reigns,
now and for ever. Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Laudate Deum (A Song of Faith)
All: God raised Christ from the dead,
the Lamb without spot or stain.
1 Blessèd be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy
gave us a new birth as his children.
2 He has raised Jesus Christ from the dead,
so that we have a sure hope in him.
3 We have the promise of an inheritance
that can never be spoilt,
because it is kept for us in heaven.
4 The ransom that was paid to free us
was not paid in silver or gold,
5 But in the precious blood of Christ,
the Lamb without spot or stain.
6 God raised him from the dead and gave him glory
so that we might have faith and hope in God. 1 Peter 1. 3-4, 18-21
All: God raised Christ from the dead,
the Lamb without spot or stain.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Wednesday

Hymn
Sing of Andrew, John’s disciple,
led by faith through ways untrod,
till the Baptist cried at Jordan,
‘There behold the lamb of God.’
Stirred by hearing this new teacher,
Andrew, freed from doubt and fear,
ran to tell his brother Simon,
‘God’s Anointed One is here!’

Prayer
Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth.
Send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives
is counted dead before you.
Grant this for the sake of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Lætabitur deserta (A Song of the Wilderness)
All: The ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall rejoice,
the desert shall blossom and burst into song.
2 They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weary hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to the anxious, ‘Be strong, fear not, your God is coming with judgement, coming with judgement to save you.’
5 Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 Then shall the lame leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
7 For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
8 The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
9 Joy and gladness shall be theirs,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35. 1, 2b, 3-4a, 5-7a, 10
All: The ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Thursday

Psalm
I joy’d when to the house of God,
go up, they said to me.
Jerusalem, within thy gates
our feet shall standing be.

Now, for my friends’ and brethren’s sakes,
peace be in thee, I’ll say.
And for the house of God our Lord,
I’ll seek thy good alway. Psalm 122

Prayer
We praise and honour you, Sovereign God, creator of light and darkness!
As evening falls, you renew your promise
to reveal among us the light of your presence.
May your word be a lantern to our feet
and a light upon our path,
that we may behold your glory coming among us.
Strengthen us in our stumbling weakness
and free our tongues to sing your praise,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessèd be God for ever! Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Benedictus es, Domine (A Song of David)
All: Splendour and majesty are yours, O God;
you are exalted as head over all.
1 Blessèd are you, God of Israel, for ever and ever,
for yours is the greatness, the power,
the glory, the splendour and the majesty.
2 Everything in heaven and on earth is yours;
yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
and you are exalted as head over all.
3 True wealth and honour come from you
and you rule over all.
4 In your hand are power and might;
yours it is to give power and strength to all.
5 And now we give you thanks, our God,
and praise your glorious name.
6 For all things come from you,
and of your own have we given you. 1 Chronicles 29. 10-14
All: Splendour and majesty are yours, O God;
you are exalted as head over all.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Friday

Hymn
In every insult, rift, and war
where colour, scorn or wealth divide,
he suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives, though ever crucified.

Christ is alive, and comes to bring
good news to this and every age,
till earth and all creation ring
with joy, with justice, love and praise.

Prayer
Almighty God,
who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet more wonderfully restored us
in your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share our human nature,
so we may be partakers of his divine glory;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Venite et revertamur (A Song of Humility)
All: Raise us up, O God,
that we may live in your presence.
1 Come, let us return to the Lord
who has torn us and will heal us.
2 God has stricken us
and will bind up our wounds.
3 After two days, he will revive us,
and on the third day will raise us up,
that we may live in his presence.
4 Let us humble ourselves;
let us strive to know our God,
5 Whose justice dawns like the morning star;
its dawning is as sure as the sunrise.
6 God’s justice will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
7 ‘O Ephraim, how shall I deal with you?
How shall I deal with you, O Jacob?
8 ‘Your love for me is like the morning mist,
like the dew that goes early away.
9 ‘Therefore, I have hewn them by the prophets,
and my judgement goes forth as the light.
10 ‘For loyalty is my desire and not sacrifice,
and the knowledge of God
rather than burnt-offerings.’ Hosea 6. 1-6
All: Raise us up, O God,
that we may live in your presence.

Quiet moment for personal thoughts and prayer, or corporate, extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Saturday

Psalm
I to the hills will lift mine eyes.
From whence doth come mine aid?
My safety cometh from the Lord,
who heaven and earth hath made.

The Lord thee keeps, the Lord thy shade
on thy right hand doth stay:
the moon by night thee shall not smite,
nor yet the sun by day. Psalm 121

Prayer
We declare your greatness, Sovereign God, our light and our salvation:
to you be glory and praise for ever!
In the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
To dispel the darkness of our night,
you sent forth your Son, the first-born of all creation.
He is our Christ, the light of the world,
and him we acclaim, as all creation sings to you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Blessèd be God for ever! Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Quis est iste (A Song of the Redeemer)
All: I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Most High.
1 Who is this that comes from Edom,
coming from Bozrah*, his garments stained crimson?
2 Who is this, in glorious apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
3 ‘It is I, who announce that right has won the day,
it is I’, says the Lord, ‘for I am mighty to save.’
4 Why are your robes all red, O Lord,
and your garments like theirs who tread the winepress?
5 ‘I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me.’
6 I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Most High;
7 All that God has done for us in his mercy,
by his many acts of love.
8 For God said, ‘Surely, they are my people,
my children who will not deal falsely’,
and he became their Saviour in all their distress.
9 So God saved us by his love and pity;
he lifted us up and carried us
through all the days of old. Isaiah 63. 1-3a, 7-9
All: I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Most High.
(*Bozrah was the capital city of Edom. According to the Old Testament, the city was the homeland of Jacob’s twin brother, Esau. Bozrah means “sheepfold” and was a pastoral city in Edom south-east of the Dead Sea.)

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Sunday

Psalm
All people that on earth do dwell, sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell,
come ye before him and rejoice.

O enter then his gates with praise, approach with joy his courts unto:
praise, laud, and bless his name always, for it is seemly so to do.
For why? The Lord our God is good; his mercy is for ever sure;
his truth at all times firmly stood,
and shall from age to age endure. Psalm 100

Prayer
Eternal God,
make us to be a city and kingdom of love,
that in all things your love may come to abound.
You call your Church to witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us so to proclaim the good news of your love
that all who hear it may be reconciled to you;
through him who died for us and rose again
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading

Reflection

Hymn

Canticle Surge illuminare (A Song of the New Jerusalem)
All: Nations will come to your light,
and kings to your dawning brightness.
1 Arise, shine out, for your light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising upon you.
2 Though night still covers the earth,
and darkness the peoples;
3 Above you the Holy One arises,
and above you God’s glory appears.
4 The nations will come to your light,
and kings to your dawning brightness.
5 Your gates will lie open continually;
shut neither by day nor by night.
6 The sound of violence
shall be heard no longer in your land,
or ruin and devastation within your borders.
7 You will call your walls, Salvation,
and your gates, Praise.
8 No more will the sun give you daylight,
nor moonlight shine upon you;
9 But the Lord will be your everlasting light,
your God will be your splendour.
10 For you shall be called the city of God,
the dwelling of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 60. 1-3, 11, 18-19, 14
All: Nations will come to your light,
and kings to your dawning brightness.

Quiet moment for personal thought and prayer, or extempore prayer

Collect
As darkness has fallen, Lord, with this day far spent, we thank you for all you have enabled us to discover of your grace and for the opportunities you have given us to share faith, hope and love. Enable us to treasure all these things in our hearts as you stand guard over us and our thoughts this night, that we may waken to learn more and to serve you in the light of a new day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, this night, and always. Amen.

Holy Communion in the Holy Land

Call to Worship
On the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, and in homes both rich and modest in Bethany outside Jerusalem, and on a beach by the water’s edge Jesus shared food with friends, followers, Pharisees and others.
He shared with them, too, the coming kingdom of God.
In an upper room in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover he gave his closest disciples a means of remembering him as he took bread and wine.
We take similar elements and here, not so far from some of those places, we who seek to be Christ’s disciples today remember him in bread and wine.

Prayer
Almighty God, you bring to light things hidden in darkness
And you know the shadows of our hearts.
Cleanse and renew us by your Spirit, that we may walk in your light
Praising your name through Jesus the Messiah, the Light of the world.
Amen.

Statement of Faith
We believe in a God who constantly makes all things new,
who does not wait for us to find ourselves
but comes seeking the lost and calling us into a new way.
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth as God’s crucial initiative:
when Christ calls us to follow, he also gives us the power
to become, both in creed and deed, children of the living God.
We believe in the Spirit by whom Jesus still comes to us,
calling us to follow him into an obedience which is true liberty
and to a humble service which is the fruit of holy friendship.
We believe in the church as the fellowship of Christ’s people,
called to respect and support one another through joys and tribulations
as we travel the road towards the “promised land” of God’s future.
Because Christ has called us, in this we truly believe.
Amen.
From Bruce Prewer (bruceprewer.com)

Narrative of Institution
On the night of his arrest the Lord Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God broke it and said:
‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in memory of me.’
In the same way, he took the cup after supper, and said,
‘This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood.
Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.’ 1 Corinthians 11: 23 – 25

Taking Bread and Wine

Thanksgiving
Is the Father with us? He is with us!
Is the Son among us? He is with us!
Is the Spirit here? He is with us!
He is our God! Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
We are his people; we belong to him.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right and our delight to give you thanks and praise, great Father, living
God, King over all the earth; Creator, Provider, Saviour and Giver.
For Abraham, the wandering nomad, you made an everlasting covenant;
for a burdened people you raised up Moses as prophet and leader;
for a confused nation you chose David to be king;
for a rebellious community you sent your prophets.
In these last days you sent us your Son, your perfect image.
He was born a Jewish child; he was obedient to Torah;
he established your kingdom and revealed your will by his life and teaching.
In all this he submitted himself to you, being obedient even to death,
the death of a criminal, hung on a cross outside the city wall.
You raised him to everlasting life.
Under his heavenly reign you are making a people for yourself.
Through him you have sent your life-giving Spirit upon us that,
though once strangers and aliens, we may now know ourselves
to be your daughters and sons, sisters and brothers to one another
in Christ Jesus, the head of the Church through time and across space.
Therefore with angels and archangels and all in heaven, we proclaim
your great and glorious name, forever praising you and singing:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
All things belong to you. We thank you for giving us your only Son, unworthy though we are of your generosity beyond telling. Pour your refreshing Spirit on us as we remember him in the way he commanded through these gifts of your creation. Let your Holy Spirit settle on this bread and this wine, that in them we may know Christ’s presence, real and true, and be his faithful followers demonstrating your love for the world.
All honour and glory is yours, Almighty Father, in and through Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

Breaking of Bread
At Passover on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took the bread and recited the blessing, giving you thanks:
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam, ha’motzi lechem min ha’aretz.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe,
who brings forth bread from the earth.
He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples saying,
“Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way, after supper He took the cup and recited the blessing giving you thanks:
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam borei pri ha’gefen.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe,
who creates the fruit of the vine.
He gave it to them saying,
“Drink this, all of you. This is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.”
Jesus, Lamb of God: have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world: grant us peace.

Communion

The Peace
To the disciples, fearful, gathered together behind locked doors in an upper room, Jesus came on the evening of the first day of the week.
He stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’
The peace of Christ above all peace be with you.
We greet one another with handshake or embrace, saying:
The peace of Christ.

Prayers
Great is the mystery of faith:
Messiah has died, Messiah is risen, Messiah will come again.
We are brothers and sisters through his blood.
We have died together, we will rise together, we will live together.
Heavenly Father, we rejoice to celebrate this covenant and await the coming of our Lord and Saviour. He died in our place, making
atonement for the sins of the whole world, the perfect sacrifice, once and
for all. You accepted his offering by raising him from death and granting
him great honour at your right hand on high.
Jesus is Lord. This is the feast of victory!
The Lamb who was slain has begun his reign!
Hallelujah! Amen!

Blessing
Christ, who once was dead, is alive.
‘He not here,’ neither is he confined to any location.
Risen, he meets us in all times and places,and tells us:
to go and reflect God’s love for the whole of creation;
to go and foster faith and discipleship throughout the whole earth;
to go mindful always of his companionship, and
to go with the blessing of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
resting upon us now, remaining with us for ever. Amen.

Partners

House of Grace, Haifa : house-grace.org

In 1982, when Kamil and Agnes Shehade were not long married, they gave hospitality in their home to men recently released from prison. That welcome offered shelter, respect, stability and dignity. It put practical flesh on the words of Jesus as it seeks to set an example of the way people should relate to each other. Presently, from its base in the Greek Melchite Church of Our Lady, House of Grace is involved with three projects.
It is the only halfway house for prisoners from the Arab community and accepts men from all backgrounds who spend nine months living on-site as they receive support to integrate again into society, assistance which continues as they return to live in their communities.
Families in need are supported with modest financial aid, but mainly with advice and assistance on accessing state support; this service is provided to families from all sectors of society.
Finally, there is a youth centre for Arab children aged seven to seventeen, often from challenging backgrounds, who receive support with their studies and activities to help them deal with their anger and hurt.
Kamil died in 2000 but the work continues through Agnes, with their son Jamal who is Director of House of Grace.

Sindyanna of Galilee : sindyanna.com

This non-profit organisation, established in the mid-1990s, works with Arab people in western Galilee, combining commercial work with community activity and operating in partnership with Israelis and Palestinians.
A primary task is restoring the olive oil industry in Israel to secure a fair return for Arab farmers who find particular difficulty accessing markets and other much-needed resources. Sindyanna allows farmers to sell their produce on fair commercial terms.
Sindyanna also offers work opportunities for women, scarce in the area. Arab and Jewish women are responsible for stock management, labelling, packaging and preparing products for shipping; in fact, it is the only facility in the area which employs women. Some of their organic olive oils have won top awards.
In addition to its support for commercial activities, Sindyanna supports efforts to build peace and engages in reforestation projects.
Rabbis for Human Rights : rhr.org.il/eng
This is the only rabbinic voice in Israel which is explicitly dedicated to human rights. It aims to inform the Israeli public about human rights violations and to pressure state institutions to provide redress for injustices.
Founded in 1988, it represents over one hundred Israeli rabbis and rabbinical students. While representing diverse streams in Judaism it derives its authority both from Jewish tradition and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It takes seriously and gives expression to the Jewish responsibility for the safety and welfare of the stranger, those who are different, those who are weaker, converts, widows and orphans. Its work is presently focused in six areas.
It partners with Palestinian farmers from over thirty villages to ensure agricultural tasks are completed without harassment or unjust limitations. Over eight hundred post-secondary and university students annually learn of the importance of human rights in the Jewish tradition through RHR’s educational efforts. It provides direct support as well as advocacy to assist people from diverse backgrounds to obtain their socio-economic rights.
RHR also provides legal assistance to prevent or reverse the takeover of Palestinian land by settlers, or unjust access restrictions by the Israeli military; it has a presence in the H2 area of Hebron to help safeguard the rights of Palestinian residents. The Jahalin Bedouin communities on the outskirts of Jerusalem have received support from RR for over two decades, advocating against enforced displacement as well as providing summer and after-school activities for over two hundred children. Finally, RHR harnesses Jewish teaching to engage with others to promote reconciliation and understanding through its involvement with public panels, interfaith prayer and study, and interfaith activism in combating hate crime.

Sabeel Palestinian Liberation Theology Centre : sabeel.org

Sabeel (Arabic for ‘the way’ and also ‘a channel’) is a Palestinian liberation theology centre based in East Jerusalem. Founded by Palestinian Anglican priest Naim Ateek in 1989, Sabeel seeks to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the various national and faith communities in the area, and to raise international awareness about the identity, presence and witness of Palestinian Christians and the contemporary challenges they face.
Sabeel has been active in the political sphere, not without criticism. Its document Principles for Just Peace in Palestine-Israel outlined support for a two-state solution leading, in time, to a single-state arrangement and made several demands of Israel, and including reparation to Palestinians.
In 2009, Sabeel endorsed the Kairos Palestine Document in which Palestinian clergy called for an end to the occupation. Sabeel, and particularly Naim Ateek, have expressed disagreement with what are seen as Zionist interpretations of the Old Testament, though he affirms the continued existence of an established State of Israel. Sabeel’s present position is that it wishes the two peoples be allowed to live together in the land as equals with full rights for people of both groups.
Sabeel has supported calls for asset divestment from particular companies as a legitimate means of applying economic pressure to encourage peace in the Middle East; some have criticised either the approach Sabeel has advocated or its manner of speech.

Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation : musalaha.org

Based on biblical principles of reconciliation, Musahala promotes and facilitates engagement between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, particularly Messianic Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Christians. Founded in 1990 and guided by an executive board of Palestinian and Israeli community and church leaders, Musahala (which means ‘reconciliation’ in Arabic) seeks to promote unity in society.
Current projects include long-term engagement amongst Palestinian and Israeli young people where, in a context of worship and prayer, issues of cultural identity and difference are explored in shared conversation safely facilitated. This long-term approach has developed from the teenagers’ involvement as children at summer camps over several years.
Musalaha’s educational work includes conducting a reconciliation seminar for Palestinian and Israeli school principals in Jerusalem, assisting the senior school managers to break a deadlock through the model of reconciliation Musalaha has developed over a number of years and enabling some progress.
An interesting method which Musalaha has employed is to take groups of young people into the desert for three days. The absence of typical surroundings, the silence and the necessity to work together, mutual co-operation can begin to develop and trust to grow.
Dr Salim J Munayer, an academic working from Bethlehem Bible College, has written extensively on the methods and work of Musalaha.

B’Tselem : btselem.org

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories seeks the ending of the occupation by Israel on the basis that this step is essential for the human rights, democracy, liberty and equality of all peoples living both in Palestine and Israel. A translation of the Hebrew means ‘in the image of’ nd is taken from Genesis 1:27 where humans are described as being created in the image of God. This synonym for human dignity serves as a moral call to respect and protect all people’s human rights.
The principal work of B’Tselem since its founding in 1989 has been to document and record human rights violations stemming from Israel’s role as an occupying power. It continues to perform this task aware that occupation is likely to be long-term, and has extended the scope of its work to include exposing injustice, violence and dispossession which lie at the heart of occupation.
B’Tselem has developed a strong international reputation for its work and has attracted a deal of hostile attention particularly in Israel. It has, though, won a number of international awards for its work including the British One World Media Award in 2009 for its video project.

Physicians for Human Rights Israel: phr.org.il

PHR, founded in 1988 by a group of Israeli physicians promotes the right to health being granted equally to all people who are under Israel’s responsibility. It provides humanitarian work and also advocates for policy change.
Mobile, open clinics staffed by volunteer medical professionals provide healthcare free of charge at the point of need to those with limited or no access to health services, particularly migrants, refugees and Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza.
It also collects, analyses and publishes relevant data, undertakes legal action and national and international advocacy to influence the change of discriminatory and abusive structures and policies towards Palestinians in the Occupied Territory, prisoners and detainees, migrant workers, refugees and those without documentation as well as Israeli residents.
It is supported by more than 3,500 members and volunteers and enables the mobilization of the medical community as it seeks to combine human rights, medical ethics and social justice to reduce inequality and structural violence and seek to establish an alternative which promotes equality and solidarity.
The Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre : basma-centre.org
Established in 1965 as a home for children with physical disabilities, the Princess Basma Centre has become one of four significant national rehabilitation centres and the only one which specialises in the rehabilitation of children with disabilities. The conditions which the centre addresses include cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, head injuries, osteoporosis and learning difficulties.
The centre’s work has been extended over the years to include mainstream schooling which integrates children with disabilities and outreach work to children with disabilities and their families in East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron. Additionally, a centre specialising in hearing impairment was opened in 1999 and, a decade later with EU funding a programme addressing the needs of children with autistic spectrum disorders was started, both in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank.
The centre’s vision is to provide access to quality health services and inclusive education to all Palestinian children with disabilities. However, the centre also provides physiotherapy treatment for adults as well as a sheltered workshop providing vocational training for people with disabilities.
The centre was entrusted to the Anglican Episcopal Church, Diocese of Jerusalem, in 2000.

Church of Scotland Institutions

The Church of Scotland has had a presence in the Holy Land since the 1830s. It currently has two churches, St Andrew’s Scots Memorial Church, Jerusalem, and St Andrew’s Church, Tiberias. Additionally it offers hospitality to pilgrims and visitors to the Holy Land through St Andrew’s Scots Guesthouse in Jerusalem and the Scots Hotel in Tiberias. It meets the educational needs of some children through Tabeetha School in Jaffa.

This varied presence enables the Church to work directly with Israelis and Palestinians, to support local charities working for peace and dialogue, and in small ways supports the Palestinian economy through the sourcing of goods and services.
These are small but real examples of ways in which the Church’s presence allows it to have a positive impact. Such actions should not be underestimated, and yet as we reflect on nearly 200 years of presence in the area, it is right that we should explore what more can be done to contribute towards a just peace. Can the Church do more to promote dialogue? Is the Church of Scotland in Israel/Palestine being as effective as it can in working for justice and peace?

Being present in the context of conflict and occupation enables numerous opportunities which promote small but meaningful change. But being institutionally present in such a context also brings compromise, as certain practical requirements, such as banking and the sourcing of goods etc., become increasingly hard to separate from settlement activity. It is this tension, and others like it, that must be explored.
Excerpted from Reports to the General Assembly, 2017.

Further Reading

Kairos Palestine document (kairospalestine.ps)
Johnathan Sacks, ‘Not in God’s name: Confronting religious extremism.’
R.W.L. Moberly, ‘The Theology of the Book of Genesis,’ chapter 9.
Ronald Kronish, Ed.,‘Coexistence & Reconciliation in Israel: Voices for Interreligious Dialogue.’
Successive Reports to the General Assembly have addressed a range of issues connected with the situation in Israel/Palestine; recent reports can be accessed through churchofscotland.org.uk.

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