Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sun. Jan. 30, 2011 (Andre Pekovich)

Andre Pekovich presented a review of the history of Zionism. 17th-century Europe saw religious persecution which resulted in multiple massive religious migrations, including Mennonites and Jews. As difficulties persisted to surface, publications in the 19th century eventually gave ethnic Jews a new way of thinking about themselves. Secular Jews in Austria (1897) lobbied governments to obtain safe land somewhere (anywhere, not just in Palestine). None of these early Jewish leaders were viewed as religious figures, only as pragmatic nationalists. (Christian Zionism began in the 1820's, but that is an entirely different story.) Zionism was not created out of the holocaust, but predates it, and the so-called "holy land" was not all that important to early Zionists. However, as inexpensive land was purchased in Palestine from absentee Arab landlords, Jews started to migrate. By 1948 Jews owned and occupied about 6% of what they thought of as "traditional" Jewish land (though few would agree on specific borders for those lands). Palestinians were forced out of their traditional lands, in spite of inhabiting them for (presumably) centuries and possibly millennia. By 1948, with relatively little land under their ownership, a State of Israel was proclaimed, and citizenship was offered to all Jews regardless of country of origin and it was ostensibly to be denied to all non-Jews, even those legally inhabiting the land. In the context of the day's lectionary readings, our allegiance is not to a particular nationalism but to God. God owns the land and allows peoples to use it, 'if' God's covenant is kept in its entirety. Although no new lands were to be occupied after Joshua's military triumphs, Jews repeatedly ignored this condition. Although the Prophet Samuel warned the Jews that God did not want a monarch to be established, they created a king anyway, and with the secular king came the secular notion of expanding the kingdom's borders. Andre updated present thinking about the 'promised land' by reminding us that "the land we have been promised is Eternal Life." Palestinian Christians have been in Palestine since St Paul went to Damascus. Why do Christians not decry their brothers' and sisters' loss of land, jobs and rights when they are persecuted by the State of Israel? The bible is not a manual for occupation, and certainly does not speak a language of subjugation and oppression, yet there are those in Christ's church who are highly militarized, both ideologically and in reality. [JEK] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, January 30th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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