MFSA Devotionals by UMKR members and leaders
MFSA Lenten Devotional 2022 - Week 2
By J. Paula Roderick
"About 2 weeks ago, I received a simple request from Methodists for Social Action -. would I be willing to do a reflection for Lent- sharing about how my faith informs and drives my political and social justice work? How do I view my justice work as an expression of my faith? I was daunted by the task: not because I don’t engage in political and social justice actions, I do. But, in my mind, social justice actions often take place outside of church. In the busyness of the days and week, I go to church for prayer and serenity; but more often than not, I organize within progressive groups who are more concerned with action, with creating change.
....This Lenten season, I’m setting an intention to start each morning in prayerful reflection, to bring to God in faith the matters that I feel so passionate I give my time to throughout the month. More than the daily prayer that opens my day, I’m talking about being intentional with each group, or issue, or problem that calls me to do justice work. Here’s what my first few days or so look like: " Read more
MFSA Lenten Devotional 2019 - Week 5
By Lisa Bender
"Jesus wept. Luke 19:41 is the shortest, but one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. Jesus continues to weep today - over the treatment of LGBTQIA+ persons in our denomination, the caging of asylum seekers under a bridge, the threat of climate change, and racism ingrained in our institutions.
Jesus also continues to weep over Jerusalem, as I discovered during my first visit to the Holy Land in 2012. That is when I came to fully understand the plight of Palestinian Christians who live under a harsh and unjust Israeli military occupation.
Our son Nick was living in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, Palestine, while volunteering at the Quaker Friends School. To reach his apartment, we drove a car with the right color license plates, so we could have access to the segregated roads Palestinians cannot use and get into the many areas of Israel and the West Bank that Palestinians may not go." Read more
MFSA Advent Devotion 2022 - Week 5
by Lenore Hosier
"While I had passed through Beit Sahour on my earlier trips to Palestine, it was on my trip in 2009 when I went with Global Ministries as one of our conference Mission Ambassadors where I was first introduced to the reality “on the ground” in that little town bordering up against Bethlehem. As part of our immersion experience, I was dropped off at the home of a local Palestinian Christian family to enjoy true Middle Eastern hospitality as I stayed in their home for the night. I confess, it was intimidating to go alone into a home in a strange town with people who seemed so different than those back home. I was not even sure if I would be able to communicate since I did not speak Arabic. There we sat, me with the husband, wife and five children from infant to teen, not quite sure where to begin. What began with food around their kitchen table, though, turned into laughter and stories that lasted well into the night." Read more
MFSA Advent Devotional 2021 - Week 2
By John Wagner
"Scrooge’s goodhearted nephew Fred has come to his uncle’s office to wish him a happy Christmas. Scrooge calls Christmas a “humbug” and angrily declares it has no real meaning and no real value. Fred responds that for him it is a sacred time, but also “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time” and the only season, “when... one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely” and remember how we are all “fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” Of course, by the end of the story, Scrooge is completely won over to Fred’s point of view, in large measure because he is given the extraordinary opportunity to peer into the lives of those who were previously invisible to him. He now sees their well-being as intimately connected to his." Read more
MFSA Advent Devotional 2020 - Week 2
By Alex Awad
"Embedded in Luke’s narrative of the events that lead to the birth of our Lord (Luke 1:67-78) are some inspiring songs that were sung by men and women who anticipated the incarnation of the Messiah. One such song is Zechariah’s psalm. He sang it immediately after the birth of his son, John, who was later called John the Baptizer. Although this was a song of praise and thanksgiving for the birth of the child, the song also provides insight into the religious and political conditions of Zechariah’s time. In addition, the song expresses the profound yearnings for salvation, freedom, peace, and justice felt by the Jews of that era." Read more
MFSA Advent Devotional 2019 - Week 4
by Bridget Cabrera
"Over Thanksgiving and the whole first week of December, I had the opportunity to attend the 10th Anniversary of the Kairos Document and the International Sabeel Conference in Bethlehem, Palestine. We started with the 10th anniversary of the Kairos Document. Written by Palestinian Christians and entitled “Kairos: A moment of truth,” the document is a word of faith hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering. The writers of the document introduce themselves, “We are a Christian Palestinian movement, born out of the Kairos Document, which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict. The Kairos Document is the word of Christian Palestinians to the world about what is happening in Palestine. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer, and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.” Read more
MFSA Advent Devotional 2018 - Week 2
by Giselle Lawn
"This is my first Advent season living in Palestine, more specifically the West Bank, Bethlehem in particular. Experiencing Christmas in Bethlehem this year may be the best Christmas yet for me. During this week of Advent, making my own preparations for Christmas, I visited the community of Ein Karem, situated to the west, but near, in the hills between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Ein Karem is where Mary came to visit and stay with her cousin Elizabeth while both were pregnant. Here, John the Baptist was born and subsequently hid while Herod's soldiers were killing all males under the age of two. Also, this week in Bethlehem, I visited the Milk Grotto Church. Only a five-minute walk from Nativity Church, site of Christ's birth, the Milk Grotto Church sits over the location (grotto, cave) where the Holy Family took refuge (also hiding from Herod's soldiers) prior to their flight to Egypt. This church gets its name from the tradition that Mary breastfed Jesus while here and when her milk fell onto the rock, the rock became white in color. During this Advent, it is noteworthy to me that even before John or Jesus could live into and fulfill their ministries, their families were experiencing life under oppressors, occupiers and the powerful." Read more
Worship & Devotional Resources
“Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be
co-workers with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us.”
— A Moment of Truth, Kairos Palestine document, 2009
United Methodist Kairos Response and Kairos USA together offer this collection of worship and devotional resources to clarify and enrich the spiritual connection to the cause of justice in the Holy Land. We encourage faith communities and other justice advocates to use these resources as they see fit in worship, personal and community devotions, and other faith-based activities. Check this page frequently, as we are adding new material on a regular basis.
Scroll down this page to see the resources in the following list:
• Lent/Holy Week
• Litanies and liturgies
• Prayers and poems
• Music and choral materials
See Lent and Advent Devotionals published by MFSA in the column on the right.
We welcome submissions!
Please send submissions to email@example.com. Materials will be posted at the discretion of a Kairos USA-United Methodist Kairos Response review team with the goal of providing a wide variety of excellent resources. Our deepest thanks to the authors represented here for allowing us to reprint their materials.
Do you live or work in Palestine? We would like to feature your stories in a category we call Finding Voice. We are especially interested in stories that can be shared this coming Lenten season. You can read more about the Finding Voice project here.
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Lent 2017: What Would They Say Now? | View PDF
Produced by FOSNA's theology committee, this Lenten Study for 2017 includes six reflections It journeys through the Scriptures, exploring the experiences of particular Biblical characters—Abraham, King Hezekiah, the exiled community in Babylon, Mary of Nazareth, the Magi journeying to Bethlehem, and Jesus on the Mount of Olives—and pondering the similarities and differences between the “then” and the “now” in each sacred location. Includes photos, discussion questions and opportunities for action.
Reflection for Lent 2016 | View PDF
An introduction to the days of Lent from longtime Palestinian peace activist and Christian leader Nora Carmi. Nora’s reflection on the potential Lent holds for us—rooted in scripture and based on the faith of the “living stones” of Palestinian Christians—challenges us to commit to making God’s Land “a promising land where the oppressed are liberated and the oppressor regains, once more, his humanity.” By Nora Carmi
Holding Our Hurting Hearts: Lectionary Meditations for Lent 2016 | View PDF
Powerful and heartfelt meditations on the gospel readings for each of the six Sundays of Lent, offered as inspiration for preaching, teaching, and praying, in hopes we “may touch the boundless divine yearning for justice, woven into Creation and into humanity by the One who made us.”
By Rev. Diane Dulin
A Litany for Holy Week: Troubling Days in Jerusalem | View PDF
A responsive litany appropriate for Palm Sunday or any day of Holy Week, connecting the drama of the first Holy Week to current realities in Jerusalem. By Rev. Diane Dulin
Devotional for Lent 2015 | View PDF
Reflections from United Methodists serving in Palestine and Israel, shared by the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem.
Devotional for Holy Week 2015 | View PDF
Reflections from United Methodists serving in Palestine and Israel, shared by the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem.
Litany of Spirit and Solidarity for Pentecost | View PDF
A responsive litany that uses Pentecost passages from Acts 2 for contemporary solidarity and spirit. By Rev. Diane Dulin
Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2015 | View PDF
A set of essays by Palestinian women communicating the heart of the Christmas message in the midst of occupation, interspersed with passages from the Kairos Palestine document, scripture lessons, and powerful photos. By Kairos Palestine
Devotional for Advent 2015 | View PDF
Lectionary-based reflections from past and present missionaries in Palestine and Israel, shared by the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem.
Liturgical resources for Advent 2014 | View PDF
A worship supplement designed for use with the Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2014, developed last year by Kairos USA. By Rev. Diane Dulin
Litanies and liturgies
The Gaza Bombardment of 2014: It is Now A Year Later… | View PDF
A responsive litany of lament, confession, and Palestinian resilience on the anniversary of Israel’s brutal 2014 attack on Gaza. By Rev. Diane Dulin
Litany of Kairos Questions | View PDF
A responsive litany patterned after the Sermon on the Mount, raising common questions and misguided understandings about Palestine and providing replies. By Rev. Diane Dulin
Liturgy of Public Resistance: The Wall Will Fall | View PDF
Designed for use during the 2015 World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel but appropriate at any time; it uses passages from Kairos Palestine to highlight the destructive impacts of the Separation Wall. By Rev. Diane Dulin
Prayers and Poems
A New Song Even Though | View PDF
A poem prayer for World Communion Sunday written in the midst of violence and despair.
By Rev. Loren McGrail
Church of the Checkpoint |View PDF
A description of Checkpoint 300 between Bethlehem and Jerusalem and a prayer for use there, along with other suggestions for public worship at the site. By Rev. Diane Dulin
I Allowed Myself | View PDF
A poem lamenting the heartbreaking death of a small infant. By Rev. Loren McGrail
Prayer for Hem of His Garment | View PDF
A prayer based on Mark 5:21-43, calling forth the courage required for dreaming, hoping, and reaching out for wholeness or for justice. By Rev. Loren McGrail
Rebuke, Disrupt, Shout | View PDF
A sermon based on Matthew 25:14-30, presenting the Parable of the Talents as a lesson about power, greed, and corruption. By Rev. Loren McGrail
Music and choral materials
Build Us a Table | View PDF
Composer Lori True calls this song “musical preaching.” Words by Ruth C. Duck speak of the inclusiveness of the Eucharist and include a call to tear down walls that “keep the world from our eyes and our heart.”
O Spirit of Peace/Yarabba Ssalami | View PDF
A Taizé-style song written by an anonymous Palestinian author and used by Christian churches in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon during the passing of the peace. The words call for peace to come to every heart and to the land.
Many commonly used hymnals and supplements contain songs that would be very appropriate for a worship focus on Palestine. In The United Methodist Hymnal, possibilities include “What Does the Lord Require of You” and “This Is My Song”; look in the topic index under Justice or Social Concerns for others. In “The Faith We Sing, “We Are Called” and “The Summons” are often used. In the UCC’s New Century Hymnal, look under Peace or Freedom and Liberation.