“Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: …God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:26a, 27b
“Thou didst accept their praises;
accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest,
thou good and gracious King.”
“All Glory, Laud, and Honor” vs. 5, by Theodulph of Orleans
Holy week is a time of extremes converging in one place: the unbearable weight and violence of military occupation; the people’s hopes for liberation that flooded the streets of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; Jesus’ decisive turning the tables on the moneychangers who were profiting from oppressive military rule; and people’s uncertainty and fear of what might come next.
Today, Palestinians face many of the same extremes: more illegal Jewish-only settlements being built; more home demolitions; a devastating war in Gaza; and the ongoing loss of land under military occupation. Precisely, in this moment of extremes, we are invited to hear again apostle Paul’s urging: “Consider your own call, brothers and sisters.”
As in first century Palestine, the world still continues to worship military might and corporate power while dismissing as weak and foolish nonviolent actions of grassroots communities. Ten years ago hundreds of Palestinian civil society organizations joined together in a call for nonviolent moral economic actions for justice, freedom and equality. Five years ago, Palestinian Christians launched the Kairos Palestine document that calls on churches to join in nonviolent actions of boycott and divestment.
During these same 10 years, the US government provided over $30 billion in weapons to Israel. What hope do nonviolent actions of Palestinians, international partners, and Israeli peace groups have in the face of such deadly military might?
Now, more than ever, we need to take Paul’s question to heart: “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor. 1:20b) Slowly and steadily, the seemingly foolish and weak actions of churches, campuses, and trade unions across the world that are taking up nonviolent actions of boycott, divestment & sanctions (BDS). And these nonviolent actions are forcing multi-billion dollar corporations to change their practices and end their profiting from military occupation.
This holy week let us consider our calling: to join together with Palestinians to challenge the wisdom of this world with foolish actions of nonviolent resistance that God has chosen!
O Lord, so often we feel foolish, unwise, weak and unprepared to face prolonged violence, military might and corporate greed. Help us to hear your call anew that it is we that you have chosen to join in nonviolent actions with Palestinians seeking justice, freedom and equality for all. For Your weakness is stronger than any human strength. Amen.
– David Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice