Steadfastness of Christian Presence in the Holy Land Highlighted by Archbishop of Jerusalem
The Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Most Revd Suheil Dawani received a warm welcome when he joined the congregation of Nun’s Cross, Killiskey, on Sunday morning (December 4). He preached at the service which formed part of his first official visit to Dublin & Glendalough as part of the partnership link between Dublin & Glendalough and the Diocese of Jerusalem.
The music during the service was supported by the Choir of Nun’s Cross National School. The proceeds from the parish lunch after the service will be donated to a school for children with special needs in Jerusalem.
In his sermon Archbishop Dawani focused on the words of John the Baptist: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3.2) and said he had asked all his clergy to reflect on the life of John the Baptist and what it meant to Christians in the Holy Land.
He said that in his diocese there were many in the region who did not feel that the Kingdom of God was at hand. “We know that there are many needy families, refugees in our region and in different parts of our Land, who are knocking on doors day and night seeking food and protection. They feel abandoned by God, and abandoned by their neighbour,” Archbishop Dawani stated.
“If we meditate on John’s message in the light of the advent season, we know that we must learn to treat these outsiders as the incarnate one; as Christ in our midst and respond to them. When we respond in love, in generosity and with hospitality, then we do reveal something of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is indeed near and revealed through our loving acts,” he added.
He said that John the Baptist was persistent in delivering his message which was not universally liked. This persistence could be applied to the Christian presence in the Holy Land. “For many Christians life in the Holy Land is very difficult; we are a minority, perhaps only 2%. In Gaza there are only 1000 Christians. Yet the Christians in the Holy Land have this steadfastness, this persistence not to give up, but to remain in the land where Christ lived. For some the pressure is too much and we tragically see some of our young people leaving,” he said.
Following the service the Archbishop was presented with a book about Nun’s Cross Church by its author, Patricia Butler.
Photo Caption – The Revd Jack Kinkead, Archbishop Michael Jackson, Archbishop Suheil Dawani, the Revd Ken Rue and Canon John Clarke in front of the window in Nun’s Cross Church which depicts Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday accompanied by his mother.