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2024/3/16
World Day of Prayer 2024 – I Beg You … Bear With One Another in Love

Taiwan Church News

3758 Edition

March 4 th ~ 10 th , 2024

Weekly Topical

World Day of Prayer 2024 – I Beg You … Bear With One Another in Love

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong from Taipei

The focus of 2024 World Day of Prayer (WDP) is the dire situation of Palestine. To promote peace and understanding through prayer, the Women’s Ministry Committee of the PCT Chi-Hsin Presbytery held a service at Chong-Shan Church on the morning of March 1st.

The theme of WDP 2024 entitled as ” I Beg You … Bear With One Another in Love” (Ephesians 4:1-3). It was proposed by the WDP International Committee and passed over to WDP Palestinian Committee to prepare a liturgical manual.

This Palestine prayer manual explores the meaning of forgiveness, including whether people should forgive those who have caused harm to the Palestinians; while calling on the assaulting groups on both sides to come back to their humanity, all related parties should acknowledge that for Palestinians trying to forgive Israel is also a very difficult task.

It has been acknowledged that Taiwanese churches seem to be more inclined to support Israel on the conflicts between Israel and Palestine. In an interview, Rev Lian Chang-mei, director of the PCT Women’s Ministry Committee, pointed out that this biased attitude may be affected by a specific interpretation of the Bible.

Rev Lian further explains that behind this prejudice is a simplistic but strong assent that Israel is God’s chosen people specified in the Bible, and the establishment of Israel as a country is the fulfillment of God’s promises. Such belief and understanding makes it very difficult for Taiwan churches to accept information that is different from Israel’s stance, she reminds.

The positive impression of Israel is further enhanced by the so-called Holy Land Tourism, which is very fashionable among Taiwan churches to visit Israel in recent years, while a balanced understanding of Palestinian situations is therefore marginalized, Rev Lian remarks.

She also emphasizes that It is still very difficult for church pastors and laity Christians to change their biased favor toward Israel, even though the inhumane and difficult situations in Palestine has been reported in the «Journey of Faith: The Book of Joshua – Horizon Bible Studies Manual (5) », published by the PCT Women’s Ministry Committee in 2016, and a seminar of Bible Studies discussing about Palestine has also been held before.

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She reminds that the Taiwan churches should adopt a more impartial and comprehensive stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and weigh in this complex geopolitical issues to respond the cries of the Palestine people.

Most PCT churches chooses March 1st and 2nd to hold the 2024 World Day of Prayer. Some participants raise questions to Rev Lian after the service of 2024 WDP. Based on the description of the Israel-Palestine conflicts in the WDP manual, people are guided to reflect deeply about the nature of this humanitarian disaster, and one cannot help but ask who is right or who is wrong in such historic tragedy?

In the assembly, Rev Lian responds that this question shows the true influence and impacts of the World Day of Prayer, which aims to speak up for the disadvantaged and prompt people to reflect our long-term held prejudices or false beliefs.

She concludes that this kind of Q&A dialogue is a positive start, which will help to achieve a much more balanced and impartial understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, promote dialogue and reconciliation, and encourage Taiwan churches to view this complex geopolitical issue with an open and inclusive mind.

Through the 2024 World Day of Prayer, she sincerely wishes Taiwan churches can gain a deeper understanding of current dire situations in Palestine and play a more positive role in promoting peace and justice.

Translated by Peter Wolfe


Submitted by:Taiwan Church Press
 
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