Easter is a Resurrection Process

One of our partners in Jerusalem, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches, has sent us this Easter message.  
 
Easter is a resurrection process. The death, agony and suffering that precede the Resurrection are all part of the process.  We cannot understand the Resurrection and celebrate Easter without reflecting on the events that led to it. This is why, in the midst of agony, suffering and the fear of the unknown, the Resurrection reminds us of victory against all odds. 
 
This has been a particularly harsh winter in Palestine and the Holy Land. We are all so glad that spring is arriving and to see the phenomenon of red poppies springing up all over the hills of Jerusalem. Wherever you travel from Hebron and Bethlehem in the south, to Nazareth and Galilee in the north, from the hills of Jericho in the east, where shepherds urge their herds to partake of the wild shrubs before the sun shrivels them, to the outskirts of Jaffa on the Mediterranean, red poppies are a reminder of resurrection, hope and reassertion of life. 
 
Palestinians and Israelis have long been experiencing a process of dying inside. This process has taken numerous shapes and forms, for example the separation barrier; the Gaza war and the inability to seriously start the needed reconstruction; the voting patterns of Israelis that indicate insecurity by many; the illegal Israeli settlements and their continuing expansion; the division of Palestinians and their inability to come together; the regional turmoil and the collapse of states and the deadlock in the peace process and the frustration by so many that there is no exit out of the continuing conflict. 
 
Red poppies challenge the sadness and the absence of hope that so many of us feel. So does Resurrection as it reminds us that after Crucifixion, light and life still triumph over death and darkness. Red poppies appear out of the land that has not seen the sunshine for many winter months. So too, does darkness envelope us, Palestinians and Israelis. Yet we can and should evolve from hard rocks of refusal, rejection and non-acceptance into soft red poppies that are there for all to share in their simplicity and beauty. 
 
The lesson of Resurrection and the red poppies of spring in the Holy Land is that we cannot rise up again from the current situation of hopelessness and deadlock unless we accept each other; work to ensure that the rights of both peoples are respected; and to develop a vision for the future in which sharing is a value to be pursued.  
 
The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches wishes you a Blessed and Happy Easter.