Some Good News From Old City Jerusalem

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2023 Blog #8

February 20, 2023

Some Good News From Old City Jerusalem

Just a few weeks ago our news media were full of stories of an uprising of violence in Israel and Palestine. It was sad to read about the attacks, the killings and incarcerations between these half- brothers and half-sisters.

Even though I don’t believe that the violence will help the Palestinian cause, I can understand the rage of the Palestinians, especially those living in East Jerusalem. In East Jerusalem, Palestinians are forced to use license plates of a different color to distinguish them from their Israeli neighbors. They pay taxes but are not given the right to vote. In short, they are treated as second class citizens in a nation where they and their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. My guess is that any violent outbursts from Palestinians against the authorities of Israel or its citizens simply results in harsh reactions from the Israeli military.

In the midst of this turmoil, I heard some very good news from the Old City of Jerusalem. Rev. Sally Azar was ordained as the first Palestinian Christian Woman to be ordained in the Holy Land. Rev. Azar grew up as a Palestinian Christian in Jerusalem. She completed her theological studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon and was ordained on January 22, 2023. She is now an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan, the Holy Land and for all Christians in Palestine.

We in the Reformed Church in America ought to feel especially happy over this ordination. One of the most influential instructors in Rev. Azar’s education was one of our Reformed Church missionaries, Rev. Peter Ford. He and his wife, Betty, have been missionaries in the Middle-East since the 1980’s. By coincidence I was present in Rochester and saw his senior exams for ordination.

Now we see the fruit of his work in the ordination of Rev. Azar. There have been times when we wonder if our mission work and our financial contributions will ever bare fruit. I imagine that all of us have wondered if our faithful efforts are worth it. I haven’t seen Rev. Ford in forty years but I imagine even he wondered at times if he his efforts were in vain. Now we see the reward for his labors with this new “first” for this region.

I can only hope and pray that this is only one of new “firsts” for this region. Will other new things come? Will Israel grant full citizenship for Palestinians? Will new settlements in the occupied lands cease? Will Israel return the occupied lands to Palestine? Will Israelis and Palestinians learn to respect and love each other as the half-siblings that they are? With this new event in Old Jerusalem, one can only hope that this is only the beginning of better things.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #PastorMarkAuthor            

#BergenCounty                                                        #BergenfieldNJ

#Mission                                                                    #PeterFord

#RevSallyAzar                                                          #WorldMissions

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Published by pastormarkauthor

I have been a Reformed Church in America pastor and Christian Author since 1984. In addition I am certified Crisis Counselor, certified Disaster Chaplain and have two units of Clinical Pastoral Education.

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