Remember Jesus came from the Middle East, not the West
This text and podcast is the first of five reflective radio talks for Easter from Harry Hagopian, focusing on the presence, life and witness of the often-forgotten historic Christian communities across the Middle East. The first coming of Jesus occurred in Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem - not in London or elsewhere in the world - we are reminded today.
Listen to this Premier Christian Radio broadcast* here on Ekklesia: www.ekklesia.co.uk/harryhagopian1.mp3
Read the full text:
Yesterday, Christians across our global village celebrated Easter, the glory of the Risen Christ. For millions of men, women and children, this special Sunday was about far more than chocolate bunnies, coloured eggs or even traditional church attendance. It went to the core of our true faith as Christians … honouring our Lord who died on the cross and then rose again for our sake and for the salvation of humankind.
On this occasion, my own thoughts strayed to my hometown of Jerusalem - al-Quds in Arabic or Yerushalaim in Hebrew - where the biblical story unfolded and then reached its epic moment on Easter Sunday. I could almost smell the incense wafting out of the Church of the Resurrection (or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) within the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, let alone the cacophony of church bells with deacons, monks, priests and bishops of all denominations joining the assembly of believers to proclaim the empty tomb to the whole world.
But I hope this glorious event also reminds us that the first coming of Jesus occurred in Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem - not in London or elsewhere in the world. And today, those indigenous and largely Arab Christian communities of the Holy Land - in Jordan, Israel or Palestine - continue to witness to their faith despite huge political, economic and social challenges. They need our prayers continually - but perhaps more so today.
See also: 'Easter reconciliation message from heads of Churches of Jerusalem' - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11704
(c) Harry Hagopian is a former executive secretary for the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and now an ecumenical, legal and political consultant for the Armenian Orthodox Church, as well as an independent inter-faith adviser for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. He contributes regularly to Ekklesia.
* These talks are reproduced and podcasted by Ekklesia with the kind agreement of Premier Christian Radio (http://www.premier.org.uk/). Each one will be broadcast twice a day between 5-9 April 2010. Our thanks to Ian Turner and PCR for making these available.
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