Tag Archives: justice

Peacemaking & the Right of Resistance (Romans 12:9-21)

My favorite hotel in all the world is the Walled Off in Bethlehem. Designed by Banksy, the anonymous British artist, it overlooks the Separation Wall. In bricks and mortar Banksy demonstrates how art can become an act of defiance against Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid. Tuesday this week, 29th August, was the anniversary of the assassination of Naji Al-Ali, the Palestinian political cartoonist and writer who drew the iconic image of the 10-year-old child Handala, which you often find drawn on the Apartheid Wall dividing the illegal Israeli colonies from the Palestinian ghettos.  Appropriately therefore this week’s Kumi Now reflection, is entitled, ‘Art as Resistance’. 

“Too often the Palestinian tragedy is portrayed as a humanitarian crisis rather than one that has to do with identity and self-determination. They believe art is a luxury that Palestinians cannot afford. That, instead, what they need is bread to eat, to fill their stomach, so they can think and live another day. But people “shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Art and culture instead feed the soul and allow it to thrive. It gives people the strength to refuse being on the receiving end, perceived as victims. It allows people to become actors instead of spectators. It gives them the long breath necessary to resist. For wherever there is occupation, there will be resistance. The question therefore is not whether to resist, but how to resist.”

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The Grace of God Revealed – Malachi 2:17-3:6

This week the people of Britain have been preparing to vote. There has been unprecedented levels of media attention in the polls. Popular support for some of the candidates in the last few days has reached fever pitch. Not just in Britain but around the world, millions and millions of ordinary people have been watching, speculating and cheering on the candidates.

What has impressed voters has been the honesty, the integrity, the complete lack of guile, the down to earth, no nonsense, approach of some of the candidates. For weeks I have been in no doubt whatsoever as to the outcome. I believe that if Susan Boyle had been standing as a candidate for the local elections or the European Parliament, instead of last night’s final of Britain’s Got Talent, she would win on Thursday with a huge landslide. Susan is a 48 year old church volunteer from West Lothian in Scotland. She lives at home with her cat Pebbles. Susan has been singing since she was 12 years old. She  regularly attends her local church and helps them out however and whenever she can.

On Thursday, England goes to the Polls a second time this week. Turn out will probably be much lower than on Saturday night. It will be a referendum on our entire political system.

This is not a good time to be an MP.  Melanie Philips wrote,

“There has never been anything like it. The political class is disgraced. Public fury is unassuaged. Revolution is in the air. Yet our MPs are still obdurately behaving true to discredited form. Some are taking refuge in self-pity, claiming they are being driven to the edge of nervous breakdowns or even contemplating suicide. Certainly, public shaming is a savage ordeal. But since this has occurred only because MPs hid shameful behaviour which has now been exposed, such an appeal to public sympathy just adds insult to injury…parliamentary democracy certainly has been undermined – not by those who have shone a light on the corruption of the system, but by those who have corrupted it.”

How do we change the system? Hold up our hands, shrug our shoulders, stay at home or cast a protest vote? No, that is the last thing we should do on Thursday. Only the extremists will benefit. I urge you to vote. But not in some Pavolvian way as you have always done. Do your homework and vote for the local and European candidates who demonstrate integrity, who can earn your respect and will act responsibly as your representatives. That is the democratic way to change the system. And there is more that MPs can do as well. One political leader has declared that in future, when his MP’s submit their expense claims, they will simultaneously publish them online so that anyone can see what they are claiming for. That is how you change the system. Transparency. Although I am not claiming expenses at the moment, I want you to know that you can ask the Church Wardens to see any of my expense claims over the past 12 years, at any time.

God holds each one of us accountable for our actions. In Malachi, these Sunday mornings, we have been examining six such disputes God had with his people:

1.     A dispute about God’s love (1:2–5)

2.     A dispute about God’s honour (1:6–2:9)

3.     A dispute about Godly faithfulness (2:10–16)

Read more here

Listen here

The Grace of God revealed in Malachi 2:17-3:6 from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem on the current devastating situation in Gaza

Photograph: Adel Hana/AP

We, the Patriarchs, Bishops and the Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, follow with deep concern, regret, and shock the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent destruction, murder and bloodshed, especially at a time when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King of love and peace. As we express our deep sorrow at the renewed cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued absence of peace in our Holy Land, we denounce the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and all forms of violence and killings from all parties. We believe that the continuation of this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility – and thus continued confrontation between the two peoples.

Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means.

We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.

To the various Palestinian factions we say: It is time to end your division and settle your differences. We call on all factions at this particular time to put the interests of the Palestinian people above personal and factional interests and to move immediately toward national comprehensive reconciliation and use all non-violent means to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

Finally, we raise our prayers to the Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and true peace.

We call on all to observe next Sunday, January 4, as a day for justice and peace in the land of peace.

+ Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Patriarch Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarchate.
+ Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate.
Fr. Pier Battista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custody of the Holy Land
+ Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Abune Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate.
+ Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East.
+ Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land.
+ Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
+ Bishop Youssef Zre’i, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.
Fr. Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Read John McArthy If it were your home, what hope restraint? and Ilan Pappe Israel’s Righteous Fury and its Victims in Gaza

The Narrow Gate of Justice: Sabeel Statement
Pirates of the Mediterranean: Gaza Update
Photos of Gaza

Justice in the Eyes of Jesus

Justice in Evangelical Christian and Islamic Thought: Evangelical-Muslim Consultation

“Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 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 preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 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, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-21)

In this paper I want us to examine the concept of justice in the eyes of Jesus. How did Jesus understand, teach and deliver justice? I want us to consider this question under five headings and see that biblical justice is relational; is creative; is liberating; vindicates; and restores. [1]

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