Roll away the stone of religious extremism

“Christ is risen, He has risen indeed”

Two worship services this Easter morning, one at 5:30 am, on the Mount of Olives, and then at 9 a.m. in the main sanctuary of Redeemer Lutheran Church in the old city of Jerusalem.

Each service was wonderful, each very unique and both with a central theme…Christ has risen, to which we replied…He has risen indeed! Bishop Munib Younan referred to this as the Jerusalem greeting, one that was repeated numerous times during the services and on the streets.

One can more easily imagine the context of the resurrection while looking down over the Jordan valley in early dawn’s light. It was the time of the day when the women arrived at the entrance of the tomb expecting to anoint the body of Jesus, and wondering who would roll away the stone from the tomb?

In his sermon, Bishop Younan asked “what stones need to be removed in your life…in our world today?” He focused on the need for the rolling away of the stone of ‘religious extremism’, a kind of extremism, which preoccupies the world. “If we can remove the ‘stone of extremism’ then all world religions and people of faith can use their time and energy to get to know one another better and look for ways to work together in support of respectful dialogue and global peace.

Easy perhaps to say, but it is a good and commendable goal. Let us look for commonalities and mutually supportive ideals that will make a positive impact on our world and in our relationships with others, especially people of other faiths.

These past days have enabled me to gain insights into the passion story in so many new ways. I give thanks for this opportunity and look forward to sharing more with you about the important role Canadians play in this region of the world.

Robert Granke

Executive Director

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