On Easter Sunday (this year on 12 April), the Anglican Cycle of Prayer follows its tradition of calling on people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. In this blog, ACNS offers some background and suggestions for prayer.
Jerusalem is a city that is considered by both Israelis and Palestinians as their capital. Ever since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the status of Jerusalem has remained, to this day, one of the central issues in the dispute between the Israel and Palestine. But conflict in the city is nothing new.
King David, in Psalm 122, urged people to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Verses six and seven of the psalm read: “May those who love [Jerusalem] be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
Jerusalem is home to the holiest of sites in Judaism. Jerusalem is the location of some of Islam’s holiest sites. And Jerusalem, for Christians, is the city where Jesus was crucified and – more importantly – where he rose again.
At the time of Jesus, Jerusalem was a city that was under Roman occupation. In the centuries that followed, the city has been captured and re-captured by warring entities – including by Christians during the crusades. And since the creation of the State of Israel, the city has seen further war and conflict; but today it is a city which is relatively peaceful; but conflict is never far from the surface.
Within the Anglican Communion, Jerusalem is home to the Diocese of Jerusalem which, under the leadership of Archbishop Suheil Dawani, covers Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon. The Diocese is part of the Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, which also includes the dioceses of Iran, Cyprus and the Gulf, and – until it leaves to become the new Province of Alexandria, the 41st Province of the Anglican Communion, later this year – the Diocese of Egypt with the Horn of Africa and North Africa.
Archbishop Suheil is due to stand down next year. The Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, Hosam Naoum, has been elected coadjutor bishop and will be consecrated on a date yet to be fixed.
As you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray for the security and prosperity of all its people, whether Israeli or Palestinian; whether Jewish, Muslim, or Christian.
This Easter, as you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray particularly for:
- the ministry of the Diocese of Jerusalem, which is highly respected for its work in education and healthcare in particular. Much of its ministry has been suspended or curtailed because of Covid-19 restrictions.
- political stability in Israel, which has had general elections in April 2019, September 2019, and 2 March 2020. At the time of writing, talks were continuing to form a unity government following the third set of elections.
- the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on ordinary people and the lasting impact that a lack of international travellers will have on section of the economy that rely on pilgrimages and tourists.