Holy Land Churches: Sadness Competes With Easter Joy
Lament the Violence Plaguing Protests in Arab World
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JERUSALEM, APRIL 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Though the cross is empty and new life has come, heads of Churches in the Holy Land say that sadness is competing with Easter joy.
In an annual Easter message, 13 heads of Churches in the Holy Land commented on the wave of protests in the Arab world.
"Christians find their joy is secure in the hope of the promise of eternal life which our Lord has won for all who believe," they affirmed. "However, when we in Jerusalem, the city of redemption, see the suffering of our Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in our region our joy becomes more solemn.
"We find sadness competes with the joy of Easter as we witness the violence which has erupted in the face of peaceful demonstrations by people throughout the Arab world these past months."
The Christian leaders called for reforms leading to "modern civil society where freedom of expression, freedom of religion, human rights – including the rights of those who are considered being a minority in numbers – are respected."
They said the "crucifixion is an ongoing reality for many" and affirmed that "violence, when it erupts, reminds us that the cross of Christ is ever present for the faithful followers of the Prince of Peace."
The Christian leaders asked "Churches around the world to stand with us in giving voice to those who are silenced, in breaking down walls that separate us from one another and in building bridges of goodwill between people."
"Our Lord died for the sins of the whole world that all people will see in his example how violence only leads to death and destruction," the message states. "In his resurrection we experience his victory over violence and death and we embrace a vision of the future in which all people live together in harmony."
"This vision gives us hope to renew our faith in the face of despair," the leaders said. "The cross is ever before us day by day and the cross is empty. New life has come. Christ is risen. We are risen. Alleluia."
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