Release for the Captives

Bruce Menning

READ : Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? (v. 1)

Checkpoints are passages for some and dead ends for others. For most Palestinians, checkpoints mark the boundaries of long-suffering confinement. As bearers of USA passports, however, we moved relatively easily through checkpoints into a city in the West Bank. There we visited a school for mentally and physically challenged children. Later we were received into the Palestinian home of an extended family, typical of Middle Eastern households, filled with warmth, love, and laughter.

But this home was also a matter of forced necessity in this city under occupation. Three generations of refugees live in the house, ranging from a 93-year-old matriarch to a 6-year-old grandchild. Two of the generations have never known complete freedom. Through anger mixed with resignation, they expressed hope that one day they would know peace marked by freedom of movement and opportunity.

As we were leaving, the thirty-something father of the house, obviously proud of the young son in his arms, said, “At my age, it’s already too late for me. I have no hopes for myself. Now my only hopes are for our children.” The laments of the Jews in captivity, expressed by the psalmist, are the laments of all captives today—even in Palestine.


Thanks to you, O Christ, for good news for the oppressed, for binding up the brokenhearted and setting captives free. Amen.