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You cannot serve God and the occupation

You cannot serve God and the occupation.

A short liturgy for the Sabeel-Kairos Conference 

 

O God thank you for this time together to think about, and discuss,

The ongoing injustice against the Palestinian people.

May our thoughts and prayers lead to renewed action and renewed commitment. May we be reminded that the powerful challenge of Jesus

Against the empire of domination

Should also be the path and witness of his followers.

May we never be silent 

May our churches never be silent

 

We cannot serve God and the occupation.

It is time, as followers of Jesus, to take decisive action.

The very being of the church,

The integrity of the Christian faith,

And the credibility of the Gospel is at stake.

Support for the oppression of the Palestinian people,

Through silence, word or deed, is a sin.

May we never be silent 

May our churches never be silent

 

Christian support for a theology and ideology

That legitimizes the right of one people to deny the human rights of another,

Is incompatible with the Christian faith

And a grave misuse of the Bible.

May we never be silent

May our churches never be silent

 

We cannot serve God while remaining silent

About the oppression of the Palestinians.

So we challenge one another

And all Christians and churches and all church leaders

To campaign and protest against the ongoing deprivation

Of the rights of the Palestinian people

May we never be silent

May our churches never be silent

 

Future generations will ask, ‘Why were you silent?’

God of protest at injustice and occupation,

Can we claim to be followers if we do not listen and act?

Can we claim to be followers if we do not raise our voices?

Can we claim to be followers if we do not protest?

Lord give us a compassionate heart and a hunger for justice

And take not your spirit of protest from us

 

All are made in the image of God,

So all should be treated equally

May we never be silent

May our churches never be silent

 

The above prayer inspired by and using words from the Kairos Palestine document “A cry for hope:  A call to decisive action”

 

 

Reading:  God’s dream by Archbishop Tutu

 

Dear Child of God,

Before we can become God’s partners,

We must know what God wants for us.

“I have a dream”, God says.

“Please help me to realise it.”

 

It is a dream where there will be:

More laughter, 
joy and peace,

More justice, goodness and compassion

More love, caring and sharing.

 

It is a dream of a world

Whose ugliness squalor 
and poverty,

Its war and hostility,

Its greed and harsh competitiveness,

Its alienation and disharmony

Are changed into their glorious counterparts.

 

It is a dream where there will be:

More laughter,
joy and peace,

More justice, goodness and compassion

More love, caring and sharing.

 

I have a dream:

That swords will be beaten into ploughshares,

Spears into pruning hooks.

My children will know they are members of one family,


The human family, God’s family.


In God’s family there are no outsiders… all belong.

 

A prayer for the land once called Holy

Living God in Jesus you broke down the wall of division.

We see other walls that divide in our world –

Like the separation wall that cuts into the heart of Palestine

May Palestinians find justice at last

So Palestine and Israel can both live in peace

Both live in security, both live in freedom,

Without walls, without checkpoints, closures and curfews

May we realise the great message of hope

That all are chosen or none

We are all in this together

One God, one community, one hope, one future.

Amen

 

 

 

 

A prayer in the time of Covid

Lord, the Covid-19 virus continues to be a cause of great concern and suffering

In Palestine and Israel and around the world.

We pray for wisdom for all those in authority who have to make decisions.

We pray especially for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

 

A prayer for Gaza

Lord we pray for Gaza – forgotten Gaza – courageous Gaza –

Standing alone and experiencing a brutal blockade.

It is clearly a war crime.

We pray for justice to prevail,

For the blockade to end

So that the people of Gaza may be free at last from all oppression.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

A Blessing – Make a difference in the world

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers

Half truths, superficial relationships

So that you will live deep within your heart

 

May God bless you with anger at injustice

Oppression and exploitation of people

So that you will work for justice, equity and peace

 

May God bless you with tears to shed

For those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war

So that you will reach out your hand to comfort them

And change their pain to joy

 

And may God bless you with the foolishness

To think that you can make a difference in the world

So that you will do things which others tell you cannot be done

Unknown

 

 

Bible reading – Isaiah 40: 3-5

A voice cries out in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,

Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken”.

 

 

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Meditation – You have not done with us yet

God of darkness… as well as God of light

Wounded God… yet healing God
When we stumble on the journey and see no hope

May we take time to walk away from what distracts us,
Take time to pause and be silent.
You were not there in the earthquake nor in the wind nor in the fire

But in the sheer silence;
It is there we meet you again.
May we go to the silence to restore our equilibrium –
To gain the strength to cast our net again as we realise
You have not done with us yet…
There is still hope.

 

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Prayer for St George’s Day 2020

St. George – The Palestinian patron saint of England

 

That St George was a Palestinian is often a surprise to people. So here is a prayer/meditation to use around this time to remind us of the lessons we learn from St. George.

He is known as ‘the healer’– we can be thinking of those involved in healing in our own communities and around the world in these difficult days.

 

This comment of the former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir Ali is helpful. He pointed out in a letter to The Guardian some years back that  “There is often a perpetuating of Edward Gibbon’s error of identifying the patron saint of England with the “grasping or violent” “George of Cappadocia” …… but the patron saint of England, is, rather, George of Lydda in Palestine. This Palestinian is known in the Eastern Church as the Great Martyr and is also the patron saint of Christians in Syria, India and other places in the East.”

 

So St.George is an international figure and a figure with a message and a spirituality which I hope will be reflected in this prayer.

 

A Prayer / meditation for St George’s Day

 

God, the distant memory of the martyr St George

Can still inspire and challenge us.

This saint from Palestine is still remembered across the Middle East –

As the Healer, and as “the Green One” who protects the environment –

He brings the faiths together

Because he is respected across the faiths,

So in England where he is our Patron Saint

This encourages us – especially in this time when we need healing –

To support one another,

To respect different viewpoints and faiths,

And to look after this wonderful world we have been given.

It reminds us to love humanity and love our world.

God, let the witness of a martyr

Who stands for the values of your community,

Against the powerful empire of domination,

Remind us of the journey we must take –

A journey showing compassion, mercy and justice to all

So that our world might be healed in these difficult times And brought back from the ways of violence

To the ways of wholeness.

 

May any ideas of excluding the other be removed

From our minds and lives,

As we realise that in you, giving God,

There is no scarcity of blessing.

We do not have to try and own you or define you –

You have already defined us

By making us in your image

And by showing us the example of your vulnerable love.

 

Read more…

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A song and a prayer for Easter

Song for Easter

Jesus of the Scars

 

If we have never sought, we seek you now;

Your eyes burn through the dark our only stars;

We must have sight of thorn-marks on your brow,

We must have you, O Jesus of the scars.

 

The heavens frighten us, they are too calm;

In all the universe we have no place

Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?

Lord Jesus, by your scars we know your grace

 

O Jesus of the scars we seek you now

O Jesus of the scars we seek you now

We must have sight of the thorn-marks on your brow

We must have you, O Jesus of the scars

 

The other gods were strong but you were weak;

They rode, but you did stumble to a throne;

But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,

And not a god has wounds but you alone.

 

music by Garth Hewitt

poem by Edward Shillito, written at the end of the First World War

 

Prayer for Easter 2020

 

O God, whether in India, Greece or Bethlehem

Or anywhere else in our global village

Lead us through the wilderness of worry, despair,

Illness, sorrow and suffering

And lead our wounded world to the resurrection of hope.

May we all learn from this world wide virus

That we are all in this together.

So no more violence and war,

No more greed and selfishness –

It is time to support one another

And genuinely love our neighbour as ourself.

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To the God whose name is Mercy

Sadly some of Garth’s concerts are postponed because of the COVID-19 virus. We hope it won’t be too long before it’s possible to reschedule concerts and we look forward to that.

Please watch this page for updates on Garth’s concerts and events.

Please click here for updates on Garth’s concerts and events

 

A song for today

 

From the album My Name Is Palestine

Chorus Inspired by words of Pope Francis

Verses influenced by words of US Trappist Monk Thomas Merton

 

To The God Whose Name Is Mercy

Chorus:

To the God whose name is mercy

To the God whose name is mercy

To the generous God of mercy

We take our stand with you

 

So tell the earth to shake with marching feet

Of messengers of peace –

Proclaim my way of love

To every nation and every race –

Show mercy and show love

 

Chorus

 

Let old ways be over – no more hate

There shall be no more war

My people shall be one

To every nation and every race –

Show mercy and show love

 

Chorus

 

We take our stand with you

Reach out our hand to you

 

Words & music by Garth Hewitt ℗ & © 2020 GingerDog Records GingerDog Records Limited

www.gingerdog.co.uk

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Making Holy Dreams Come True

 

What have they done to the “Little Town”?

Imprisoned it in a concrete wall

Bethlehem – once a holy city

Trapped inside a ghetto wall.

Here where angels sang of peace

Where love and hope were born anew

Once surrounded by a heavenly host

Now surrounded by a concrete view.

 

Yet people crushed and hidden away

Still celebrate on Christmas Eve

Lighting candles for the child –

They still remember  – still believe.

So light a candle this Holy Night

For Bethlehem and Beit Sahour

And for all the people caught inside

That cold and grey prison wall

 

Longing for a world of peace

Where all are treated equally

Where all can recognise their worth

Where all can live with dignity –

Where all can join hands with neighbours

Whether Muslim, Christian or Jew

And find a way to live together

Making Holy dreams

Making Holy dreams come true.

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