Prisoners on Our Own Land

Bruce Menning

READ : Isaiah 65:17-25

They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (v. 21)

For perhaps 500 years their ancestors had owned the land, its house with ancient foundations, its abundant vineyards, and its productive olive grove. It was their homestead, their shelter against the storm, their livelihood providing enough and some to spare.

When their son married, they built a modest home for him and his bride on the homestead. It was a gift not without risk. They had not secured the requisite building permit from the occupying army, knowing that it would not be issued even if requested. Building permits for Palestinians were rejected as a matter of policy.

So it was not surprising, though certainly heartbreaking, when the occupying army arrived with bulldozers and batter-rammed the four corners of the home. The simple home of the newlyweds with its few contents collapsed in a heap of rubble. Protests over the senseless destruction resulted only in the razing of the family’s ancient olive grove, rubbing salt in open wounds. What happens to people of the land when their land is destroyed? How can there be peace without justice?


Hasten the day, God of peace, when nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, all shall sit under their own vines, and no one shall make them afraid. Amen.