“Are you willing to raise hell for justice?” This was the challenge that Palestinian peace activist, Father Elias Chacour, issued our group of six on the Holy Land Learning Tour with Resonate Global Mission a few weeks ago. Father Chacour is the author of Blood Brothers, an autobiographical account of the 1948 Nakba (or "Day of the catastrophe") when Israel declared statehood and drove approximately 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes in what is today the country of Israel. Father Chacour was one of those whose ancestral towns was forcefully taken over by Israeli militia.
Today, Father Chacour is 77 years old and semi-retired. In addition to advocating for peace between blood brothers, Israelis and Palestinians, Father Chacour founded the Mar Elias Education Institutions in Ibillin, Israel, that today enroll about 3,000 children, including Muslims and Christians.
What I find compelling about Father Chacour’s teaching is his insistence on nonviolent resistance and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. As I listened to Father Chacour describe the oppression the Palestinian people experience under the Israeli occupation, I was convicted by his challenge. Am I willing to raise hell for justice in Palestine?
Honestly, and much to my chagrin, I don’t think so. I have a comfortable life. I read about and even cry about and pray for the injustices I see in the news every day. I occasionally sign a petition or add my name to a letter to my congressional leaders. I’ve even participated in a few demonstrations and rallies and donated money to groups advocating for peace and justice. But I have never raised hell for justice.
I thank God for people like Father Chacour and many others who have the courage to live out their convictions and raise hell for peace and justice in Palestine.