“Until the people in Palestine are free, none of us are free...The world must stand boldly...Do as Jesus did...He stood up and he was radical against the oppression of the Jewish and the Palestinian people. So I admonish you today to wake up, to wake up, to wake up.”
These are the words of Reverend Erica Williams, a preacher, activist, and community leader and 2016 graduate of The Howard University School of Divinity. She serves as one of the lead organizers for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
Rev. Erica Williams is just one of the clergy members who have joined the call to Preach Palestine as part of FOSNA’s Keep Awake initiative.
On Wednesday, November 11th, clergy from across the globe gathered on Zoom to call out for others to join them in Preaching Palestine on November 29th, the first Sunday of Advent and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The list of speakers included:
- Rifat Odeh Kassis
- Rev. Edwin Leslie Arrison
- Dr. Jenny Te Paa-Daniel
- Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
- Rev. Enid Gordon
- Rev. Erica Williams
- Dr. Sylvia Marcos
- Rev. Alex Awad
- Rev. Muriel Schmid
The webinar opened with Tarek Abuata, the executive director of FOSNA, and his reflection on the Annunciation as we come closer to entering Advent, awaiting the birth and coming of Christ.
Mary asked during the annunciation, “How can this be?”
And in regards to Palestine, its people, and the flagrant violations of international law, many are asking: “How can this be? We are outnumbered, we don’t have enough, we are not worthy.”
FOSNA is answering that cry and call of hope. We will keep awake during this moment and call upon congregations to keep awake alongside Palestinians. We must align our spirituality with our actions and work for peace, despite the silence of many members of the Christian community.
While we remain silent, Palestinians are asking:
“Have we been abandoned?”
“Are we being noticed?”
“Does the world watch and monitor Israel stealing Palestinian land? The separation wall? The growing numbers of settlements and settlers and their violence against the unarmed civilians?”
“Have we lost hope?”
Mark 13:33 inspires FOSNA’s Keep Awake initiative, saying, “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”
In its apocalyptic-like tone, this verse advises us to “keep awake” and be vigilant among the hardship in our world. We must stay alert and be ready for anything that comes our way. We must persist in our fight for social justice and stand in solidarity with those experiencing devastation. But we cannot merely stand, we must move. We must act. We must resist. May we hold on to hope, observe, and follow through on our obligation to work for peace.
Dr. Jenny Te Paa Daniel, a descendant of the Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand), asserted that we must challenge our own colonial theology. Her people and Palestinians alike are caretakers of lands entrusted by god, especially so in the face of cruel and unrelenting imperialist disposition. Many Christians are indifferent to the illegal occupation of Palestine and do not stand in solidarity with the individuals whose rights are violated daily. All of us as people of faith have a moral obligation and spiritual duty to resist sin and fight against injustice. We must wake up, speak up, and preach Palestine.
I urge you, along with the FOSNA and OEP, to keep awake.
To view a recording of FOSNA’s webinar, click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=660627967968576&ref=watch_permalink
To register your congregation and commit to Preaching Palestine on November 29th, click here: