Lent: Devotion reflection from the Holy Land, Week One

“Ah, Holy Jesus”

Ah, holy Jesus, how has thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?  By foes derided, by thine one rejected, O most afflicted!

United Methodist Hymn # 289 words by Johann Herrmann

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”         Psalm 91:1-2


Refugee.  This word has become all too familiar to me as of late.  Not only do I read it again and again in the news, but each and every day the seats of my classroom are filled with teenagers living as refugees.

I teach in Bethlehem and day after day I hear my students tell about what it is like to be living in the Holy Land, the land where their parents and grandparents were born, as refugees.

Their stories are often ones full on fear and sadness and anger;  they tell of things that I can barely fathom.  “Why does the world hate us?” they ask me.  “Don’t they see the way we suffer?”

In this world, to be a refugee is to be weighted with a great burden.

But my students aren’t alone, as I often remind them. Jesus, too, was afflicted and offended, even in his innocence and sinlessness.  He, too, was rejected.

As we read the words of the Psalmist, we are painted a different picture of what it is to live as refugees.  To seek refuge in our Lord means to be shrouded in his greatness.  Taking refuge in Him leads to great peace and comfort.

And that is where we, as Jesus did, must set our focus; we must cast our eyes on the mighty fortress of our Lord and dwell in His shelter.  It is in this most safe place that we will then hear his words:

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him;   I will be with him in trouble,   I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”   Psalm 91:14-16

Heavenly Father, help us to cast our eyes on you.  Allow us to seek refuge in your shadow and fill us with your presence.  Amen.

Devotion written by Elizabeth Heft, Individual Volunteer in Mission through the General Board of Global Ministries, she is a member of the West Ohio Conference, has visited this area several times and now is serving at a school in the Bethlehem area.

Pictures taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown, the wall picture is an olive wood depiction of the separation wall in the West Bank, the other picture is taken in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, it represents an identification card of internal refugees.




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