The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, led by Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, held a special worship service on Sunday, December 25, 2023, to pray for peace and justice in the face of the ongoing Israeli bombing of Gaza.
The service was live-streamed online and attracted thousands of viewers from around the world who wanted to witness the solidarity and compassion of the Palestinian Christians.
Dr. Isaac, who is also an academic dean at Bethlehem Bible College and the director of the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences, delivered a powerful message that denounced the violence and called for an end to the occupation and oppression of Palestine.
He said: “We are here today to worship God, who is under the rubble in Gaza, who is suffering with us, who is crying out for justice and freedom. We are here today to pray for our brothers and sisters in Gaza, who are facing death and destruction every day. We are here today to stand with them as one body in Christ.”
He also urged his fellow Palestinians to resist any form of violence or revenge that would only escalate the conflict and harm their own cause.
He said: “We do not want war. We do not want bloodshed. We do not want hatred. We want peace. We want dignity. We want human rights. We want justice.”
He appealed to the international community, especially the United Nations, to intervene and stop the Israeli aggression that has killed hundreds of Palestinians and injured thousands more.
He said: “We ask you, O God, to intervene on behalf of your people, who are being killed by your chosen ones. We ask you to stop this madness that has gone too far. We ask you to bring an end to this occupation that has lasted for more than 70 years. We ask you to restore our land that has been stolen from us.”
He concluded his message by saying: “We thank you for your love that never fails us. We thank you for your grace that sustains us. We thank you for your hope that inspires us.”
The worship service ended with a hymn of praise and a prayer for peace.