In the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, city and church leaders cancelled all Christmas festivities this year to mourn the more than 20,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza. Below is the Christmas sermon, “Christ in the Rubble: A Liturgy of Lament,” delivered by Reverend Munther Isaac at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, which has received international attention for a Nativity scene depicting the figure of baby Jesus in a keffiyeh, surrounded by rubble (see photo above, by Munther Isaac). “If Jesus were to be born today, he would be born under the rubble in Gaza,” preached Isaac, who condemned the use of theology to justify Israel’s killing of innocent civilians. “If we, as Christians, are not outraged by the genocide, by the weaponization of the Bible to justify it, there is something wrong with our Christian witness, and we are compromising the credibility of our gospel message.”
Beneath the Rubble
by Jim Aitken
Beneath the rubble of Gaza lie the broken bodies of babies, of children, of their parents and grandparents too along with the fragments of bomb casings beneath the rubble of Gaza.
And it is a rubble that is generic for it brings to mind Stalingrad and Dresden; it brings to mind Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mosul and Aleppo and vast swathes of Afghanistan.
Beneath the rubble of Gaza also lie some unlearned lessons – the one about rubble begetting more rubble the other one that peace only comes with justice beneath the rubble of Gaza.