December 20

By: Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Minister for Economic Justice, UCC National

When the Sovereign restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, "The Sovereign has done great things for them." (excerpt from Psalm 126)


In the United States, our tax dollars fund the atrocities of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and settler-colonial apartheid. Amidst the thousands brown-skinned people killed with our money and votes are many more thousands still living, yet irreparably disabled by missiles, bullets, tear gas and other weapons branded “Made in the U.S.A.” This has been true for years, but probably never as nakedly clear as the past few months. Given our multi-billion dollar and arms-dealing patronage, our elected leaders could have stopped the clear genocidal atrocities and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank as soon as it began. Instead, they blessed those actions, with the gift of billions more of our taxes and weapons. Untold scores of thousands maimed, dismembered, mutilated, and disabled – yet still breathing with tears to shed.

Will those tears – shed so close to the Negeb – sow the promise of the Psalmist? (What will it take for the tears sowed by US sponsored weapons to become the harvest of joy promised by the Psalmist?) It comes down to whether we empathize with Palestinian pain, are convicted by our complicity in it, and ultimately choose solidarity with their liberation struggle. It comes down to whether we have tears to shed alongside them. Grief is important for transformation, same as water to a garden. Shame and denial are weeds that choke growth. Shouts of joy come with shining sunlight clearly, until all are free.

Same as it was over 2000 years ago, Bethlehem is located in occupied Palestinian territory, being choked by the racist forces of empire. Our empire. The joyful promises of the Psalmist – of Christmas – come to those who drive a spoke into the wheels of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and the disabling violence of empire.



Inhale: In the midst of empire’s violence,
Exhale: make us like those who dream.


Artwork: “Solidarity with Palestine” by Roger Peet.
Used with permission CC BY-NC-ND
Find more at Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative


“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Take Action

Abolition is collective liberation through global solidarity.

  1. Learn more about UCC Synod resolutions taking action toward a just peace in Israel and Palestine, including divestment resources for churches.
  2. Hold in prayer those harmed by weapons we have financed, created, and supplied.
Check out the All Out for Palestine Digital Action Toolkit

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