Holy Land bishop says Christians' Resurrection message binds them to Middle East

(Photo: Ecumenical News / Peter Kenny)Lutheran World Federation President Bishop Munib A. Younan at a Geneva meeting on June 13, 2013.

A Holy Land bishop has brushed aside those who speak skeptically about Christianity in the Middle East as it has a vital message as part of the fabric of the land.

Lutheran Bishop Munib A. Younan says in his Easter message that those who are skeptical about Middle Eastern Christianity, "paint with a broad brush and make sweeping generalizations about the complex diversity of people in this land."

Rather said Younan, who is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, there are many countries in the region, each with a separate narrative.

The Finland-educated Palestinian church leader is president of the 70-million strong Lutheran World Federation.

"Even in the turmoil of the Middle East experience with its political confusion, the Christian Church continues to have the message of Resurrection.

"It has a vital message because it is an integral part of the fabric of this land and its peoples. The message of Resurrection is the message of the Risen Lord; it is the message of peace. It is the message of Jerusalem."

His word echoed those of Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai spoke on April 9 at the United Nations in Geneva on "Christians and the Future of the Middle East," stating also that they are an integral part of the social fabric in the region.

Younan said, "We should be mindful that Christianity never grew in times of tranquility and prosperity. The power of the Resurrection was always most visible in the times of difficulties, challenges, affliction and discrimination.

"The Christian Church in the Middle East can rest safely in the assurance of this Resurrection power despite extremism, war, and the seemingly endless attempts for peace thwarted by the agendas of selfish ambition."

The Lutheran bishop said that even if the path to peace is strewn with roadblocks and checkpoints, "the promise of Resurrection Peace revives in each one of us a new hope."

He prays for the day will come soon that Palestinians and Israelis live alongside one another in peace based on justice according to international law, each in their own State.

"I dream of the day when Jerusalem is a shared city between three religions and two nations. I dream of that day when there will be secure borders without walls.

"We look forward to having equal access to resources, religious sites, and a reciprocal democratic process. Even if doubts are there, there is no other way. Even if it looks bleak in my naiveté, I believe that the power of the Resurrection will make miracles that we did not expect."

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