[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER DECENCY, DIGNITY, JUSTICE & PEACE... and hopefully Palestine]http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/a-dark-easter-for-palestinian-christians/2012/04/04/gIQABvYqvS_story.html
By , (Richard Stearns is the U.S. president of World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian agency.)
Each year during Holy week, Christians around the world anticipate what come call the “Old Faithful” of miracles.At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — built over the traditional site that encompasses Jesus’ tomb and the place of his crucifixion — the archbishop enters the tomb after being inspected by Jewish authorities to ensure he has no means of lighting a fire. After saying prayers and worshiping the risen Christ, the candles miraculously alight.
The ceremony has been performed for centuries; records of the event reach back to the ninth century. Across more than a millennium of Muslim, European, or Jewish rule, the purported miracle has been an inspiration to thousands of pilgrims who flock to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to spread the fire into the rest of Jerusalem.
Once it is brought out of the tomb, the light is spread from person to person, candle by candle, and out into the world. It is a beautiful sight as worshipers from different Christian traditions line the darkened streets holding candles and spreading the light of Jesus Christ. The ceremony reflects the peaceful spread of Jesus’ message from one person to another. Called “Holy Fire Saturday,” this event also prefigures the Easter celebration the following day in which Christians celebrate Jesus’ triumph over death itself.
While Christians mark Christmas as the “silent night” in which God himself took on human flesh, on Easter we proclaim, “Christ the Lord is risen today,” in the words of the old hymn. It’s a miracle not of light, but of life defeating death.
But for the past several years in Jerusalem, the mood on Holy Saturday and the rest of Holy Week has not been one of rejoicing and triumph but instead one of trial and tribulation.
Because of travel restrictions in past years, the vast majority of Christians living in the West Bank have been stopped at checkpoints and prevented from attending one of the most important religious services of the year....READ MORE