In addition to lifting you all in prayer, I join you in lifting the dozens of people in Brussels who were wounded or killed in yesterday’s attacks. Like many of you, I was immediately transported back to the horror of the 2013 Marathon bombing. As we learned then, our prayers and other expressions of solidarity matter.
I also now hold in my heart dozens of sisters and brothers who I met on a recent trip to the Middle East. I joined twenty other leaders from the UCC, Disciples of Christ, Congregational Church of Southern Africa and United Church of Canada as we visited UCC partners in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Our encounters were profound.
In keeping with the tensions of Holy Week, as I listened to the updates from the bombings in Brussels, I was reminded of the Chief Mufti of Egypt (the government-appointed Islamic leader empowered to issue Fatwas) and his counterpart in Beirut. Both spoke to us at length about peace, and both extended to our delegation extraordinary hospitality.
In keeping with the tensions of Holy Week, I lifted in prayer both my Jewish colleagues here in Massachusetts and those in Jerusalem as well as the founder of the BDS (Boycott-Divest-Sanction) movement with whom our delegation met in Ramallah, Palestine.
We know that this week of tension will be resolved when the power of universal love is fully revealed. But first there will be misunderstanding, stumbling, sacrifice, sorrow and grief.
Please know that I join you in this journey as we respond to Jesus’ call. And in a mystery beyond our understanding, as Holy Week unfolds, let us join our hearts with the victims in Brussels, the suffering refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, with peace-loving people from every faith tradition, and with the least of these among us.
Strength and peace as you live into your call this Holy Week,
Minister and President
Massachusetts Conference UCC
John Dorhauer, General Minister and President, offers this Holy Week reflection:
Jim Antal is a denominational leader, activist and public theologian. He led the 360 churches of the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ from 2006 to his retirement in 2018. An environmental activist from the first Earth Day in 1970, ...