Previous Armenian community continues their united stand defending their land and the Patriarchate issues an urgent communique
رابط المقال: https://milhilard.org/81zo
رابط المقال: https://milhilard.org/81zo
Pastor Bassam Bannoura
The last trip of our Lord Jesus to Jerusalem occurred a few days before the Passover on which Jesus was crucified. The crowd “began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice”. This was completely a spontaneous reaction from their side. The people of Jerusalem saw in Jesus a King who was coming to deliver them. Their cry was one of rejoicing and also a cry for deliverance.
Jesus was asked by some of the Pharisees to silence the crowd, and His answer was, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out”. I would like to repeat what Jesus has said: “The very stones would cry out! The very stones would cry out!”
This saying by Jesus reminds us of what the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk says in his book 2:11, “The stones of the wall will cry out”. These two sayings by the Lord Jesus and the prophet Habakkuk raise a serious question:
How could the stones cry out?
How could stones shout?
How could stones praise and glorify God as we have in our story?
Or how could they proclaim judgment as the prophet Habakkuk declares in his prophecy?
Stones are dead objects. They have no life in them. And so, if stones were to shout or cry, this meant that an act of creation should have been involved. And as Christians, we believe that only God is the creator, and only He can create life. This belief is exactly what John the Baptist declared during his ministry in the wilderness. When the crowds came to him, he spoke with power and authority and said in Luke 3:8: “Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves “we have Abraham as our Father”, for I tell you, God is able, from these stones to raise up children for Abraham”. In other words, John the Baptist was saying that mere physical descent from Abraham is not important, for God can create His own children out of stones just as He can cause the dead stones to live and praise His Son if the humans remain silent.
The Pharisees, who represented a major component of the religious leadership in Palestine during the time of Jesus, wanted to silence the crowds. And according to Jesus, the stones were to be the only alternative. They would become the children of God, who shout and praise the coming Lord and Messiah. The children of the stones were to be the living consciousness of the nation, and they would cry out praising the King and asking for His deliverance.
I am fully aware that the stone is an image of what is not alive. An image of what cannot be enjoyed. but it is not the case in the Middle East and especially in the Holy Land.
In the book of Isaiah 51:1-2, Abraham is compared with a rock and his descendants with stones hewn out of the rock.
One of the repeated images of Christ in the Bible is that of a living stone. Christ is the living stone who was rejected by people, but in the sight of the Father, He was the choice and the precious cornerstone of God’s Temple. The builders rejected Him, but He became the very cornerstone.
In First Peter 2:4-10, the Christians are compared to dead stones, but by approaching Jesus they become Living Stones. We, the Church, are Living Stones.
This image of the Church as a Living Stone is always used in my country. Palestinian Christians always refer to themselves as the Living Stones in the Holy Land, a land that is full of other kinds of stones too.
When Jacob left home on his way to Paddan-Aram in the book of Genesis 28, he put a stone under his head as a pillow in order to sleep. During that very night, he had his very famous dream of a ladder which was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of the Lord were ascending and descending on it, with the Lord himself standing above the ladder. The next morning Jacob took the stone that he put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top, and he called the place Bethel, which means “The House of God”.
On Mount Sinai, the Lord himself wrote His commandments on two tablets of stone and asked His people to keep them.
In 1 Samuel 20, it was stone Ezel, or the stone of separation where the very well-known friends in the Scripture, David, and Jonathan, were separated from each other.
It was on a stone that the prophet Ezekiel drew a picture of the city of Jerusalem and proclaimed God’s coming judgment against it.
In the New Testament also we have stories where stones played a significant role:
- Our Lord Jesus Christ was almost killed many times by means of stone-throwing.
- In His temptation, Jesus was asked to change stones into bread in order to eat and satisfy His hunger.
- A large stone was rolled to seal the tomb where Jesus was buried after His death. There are many more stories where stones are involved.
The Biblical stories about the stones are still with us even today. The children of the Stones in my country are suffering and dying instead of enjoying their lives and childhood like other children in the world.
The dream of Jacob while sleeping with his head on a stone is their dream. They are crying Hosanna and waiting for the Lord to come down from the ladder to save them.
And like the Law of Moses, which was inscribed on stones, to our children, the stones are a new law by which they are learning the most difficult game of life and death.
Thousands of Palestinian children and babies have been killed, and they too, like our Lord, are buried in some garden tomb with stones rolled against the entrance of these tombs.
Jesus the King came with peace and deliverance, and the stones were to respond with shouts of praise and worship.
I invite all Christians to respond with shouts of praise and worship.
I invite us to shout for deliverance, liberty, and peace for the children of the stones, the children of Palestine
تكافح مجلة “ملح الأرض” من أجل الاستمرار في نشر تقارير تعرض أحوال المسيحيين العرب في الأردن وفلسطين ومناطق الجليل، ونحرص على تقديم مواضيع تزوّد قراءنا بمعلومات مفيدة لهم ، بالاعتماد على مصادر موثوقة، كما تركّز معظم اهتمامها على البحث عن التحديات التي تواجه المكون المسيحي في بلادنا، لنبقى كما نحن دائماً صوت مسيحي وطني حر يحترم رجال الدين وكنائسنا ولكن يرفض احتكار الحقيقة ويبحث عنها تماشيًا مع قول السيد المسيح و تعرفون الحق والحق يحرركم
من مبادئنا حرية التعبير للعلمانيين بصورة تكميلية لرأي الإكليروس الذي نحترمه. كما نؤيد بدون خجل الدعوة الكتابية للمساواة في أمور هامة مثل الإرث للمسيحيين وأهمية التوعية وتقديم النصح للمقبلين على الزواج وندعم العمل الاجتماعي ونشطاء المجتمع المدني المسيحيين و نحاول أن نسلط الضوء على قصص النجاح غير ناسيين من هم بحاجة للمساعدة الإنسانية والصحية والنفسية وغيرها.
والسبيل الوحيد للخروج من هذا الوضع هو بالتواصل والنقاش الحر، حول هويّاتنا وحول التغييرات التي نريدها في مجتمعاتنا، من أجل أن نفهم بشكل أفضل القوى التي تؤثّر في مجتمعاتنا،.
تستمر ملح الأرض في تشكيل مساحة افتراضية تُطرح فيها الأفكار بحرّية لتشكل ملاذاً مؤقتاً لنا بينما تبقى المساحات الحقيقية في ساحاتنا وشوارعنا بعيدة المنال.
كل مساهماتكم تُدفع لكتّابنا، وهم شباب وشابات يتحدّون المخاطر ليرووا قصصنا.