Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Easter 1990: A Religious Convergence

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Easter 1990: A Religious Convergence

Article excerpt

My windows are not clean. The winter rains and the fine dust from the Kham-seen winds that blow cold off the desert have left an untidy brown film of dirt on the large panes. The magnificent panorama of the desert and the distant Mountains of Moab are obscured. Shall I clean the windows? If it rains again I would have wasted my time. I decide it is a time to clean.

For Easter 1990 something is happening which takes place only about every 16 years. The Jews are celebrating Passover during the Christians' Holy Week. This year, too, the Christians of both the Eastern and the Western churches celebrate the Risen Christ on the same day: a rare occurrence for the churches in Jerusalem. And as I meet my Muslim students unofficially (our university has been closed by the Israeli occupation authorities for nearly two and a half years) they are tired and weak, not just because of the strains of the intifada, but because of the rigorous daytime fasting of the holy month of Ramadan.

At a time of hope, of preparation for celebration and to commemorate deliverance and a break with the past, Jerusalem is filled with contradictions. In Israel, division, acrimony and a government in disarray delay the peace process. It is ironic that the Israelis commemorate their deliverance across the Red Sea from slavery in Egypt when today they are building a military base at Dahlak on the islands off the coast of Ethiopia to control access to the Red Sea. In Jerusalem, the seven Christian patriarchs remain divided. And daily, though their 28-month-old intifada is overshadowed by momentous events elsewhere, Muslim and Christian Palestinians protest against the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem, and the military occupation of the adjoining West Bank.

The political battle over the land is paralleled by the theological discussions over the apparent Biblical claims, justified after the event by the way the promise was described, that the land was given by God to the Jews.

Recently a Rome-trained theologian and colleague of mine has been struggling to reconcile the concepts implied in the ideas of a "Chosen People," "The Covenant" and "The Promised Land" with the realities and injustices that surround him each day. He says he no longer sees the "Land" as part of the "Covenant. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.