Ecumenical Prayer Service

On the 6th of October, Sabeel convened around 130 local Christians, Muslims, and internationals to pray for justice and peace. This ecumenical and interfaith gathering took place at the Dominican Church in East Jerusalem.
In light of the ongoing meetings at the United Nations, Sabeel called for an ecumenical prayer service to lift up the voice of truth, justice and peace and the removal of the chains that shackle the Palestinians. The service began with readings for peace and justice and the song led by Teddy Abdullah, called “Yarabba issalami,” a traditional Palestinian melody with words that reflect the desire for God’s peace to envelope the world. Then the former Latin Patriarch Michael Sabbah spoke about the importance of prayer and truth-telling. He reminded the assembly that lifting up prayers on behalf of the oppressed does not require a special occasion. However the call for this service is a plea coming from the Palestinian people for acknowledgment of their human rights. Their lives are a constant prayer to God for the recognition of their dignity. They face a situation similar to that of the psalmist, when he wrote, “In my distress I cry to the LORD, that God may answer me: Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” (Ps. 120:1-2).
Sabbah commented on what it felt like to be surrounded by deceit that is unjust, and bombarded by events and images that keep Palestinians from access to true peace. Each day the lies grow; giving strength to those who think themselves better than others, specifically, to those here and around the world who are blind to the injustices perpetrated on the Palestinians by occupation. The bid for statehood is a plea for deliverance, and its denial strengthens the shackles and distress.
The patriarch ended his speech by noting that even though the world is in a situation where it prefers lies over truth, those gathered for prayer, together from their different perspectives, persevere in their desire to put the spirit of truth at the foundation of a new state. The service concluded with candle lighting and prayer offering in several languages.