I like learning new words! Here’s one rather new to me: Kairos. It is an ancient Greek word meaning “moment of grace and opportunity.” In 1985, Christians in South Africa wrote a document called The Kairos Document, Challenge to the Church, declaring, “This is the KAIROS, the moment of grace and opportunity, the favorable time in which God issues a challenge to decisive action.” It was the efforts of Christians throughout the world that changed apartheid in South Africa.
In 2009, Palestinian Christians wrote the Kairos Palestine Document. They wrote at that time, “Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us.” They also went on to say, “The mission of the church is prophetic, to speak the Word of God courageously, honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily events.” They called upon Christians throughout the world to mobilize churches to respond to the situation in Israel and Palestine.
Other countries have called for a response to the Kairos Palestine Document, and churches in the United States have now joined in. The reponse, Call to Action, The U.S. Response of the Kairos Palestine Document, can be found at www.kairosusa.org. Let us, too, join with Palestinian Christians to have hope to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the Holy Spirit.
As the Kairos Palestine document says, “Education…[helps] us get to know the other as he or she really is, rather than through the prism of conflict, hostility or religious fanaticism.” There is a rich and growing body of study materials produced by denominational and ecumenical organizations for this very purpose. Let us make use of written and video materials about the history, facts, and people of Israel and Palestine, as part of Bible study, adult and youth education, and community-based events.
When I visited the West Bank a few years ago, I was awed by how loving Palestinian Christians and Muslims were to me, how patient they were in situations that would make my blood boil. I hope you might be willing to allow my husband and me to share more with you! I’m a teacher in an elementary school and like things interactive. I know you will have meaningful fun if you have us give a presentation.
Today as I write, the United Nations has declared Palestine to be a “non-member observer state.” While this is not peace, it could be a Kairos moment.
Contributed by Kay Ellison, West Hills Friends