“Sumud” of the Church

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.” –Isaiah 42:1

Olivewood craft business of the al-Atrash family. Credit:Ryan Beiler/MCC

Too many claims have been made of bringing justice to Palestine-Israel. One can grow easily discouraged when surveying the last decade of such claims, let alone the last sixty-three years.

But if we read further, the prophet goes on to describe this servant as faithful, steadfast, not growing faint. In Palestine, the Arabic word sumud is often used to describe this sort of steadfastness. It is also used to describe the persistent witness of the Church in Palestine.

Our brothers and sisters in Palestine spoke to this witness two years ago in their Kairos Palestine Document.  In addition to challenging theologies that legitimize violence and dispossession, it describes the mission of the Church to speak the Word of God courageously, honestly and lovingly and to stand alongside the oppressed.  It also urges us to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

The sumud of the Church—this steadfast witness of the Body of Christ—in Palestine, presents a challenge to us Christians here in the United States during this season of Advent, a challenge that requires hope, courage, and risk.

How shall we respond?

Written by Timothy Seidel, Director, MCC U.S. Peace & Justice Ministries

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