faith in action

Joy and Hope As Resistance

A reflection by Colleen Moore, GBCS Director of Peace With Justice, from the Israel Palestine Mission Network's “Come and See, Go and Tell” delegation.


Originally published on

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

A fellow pilgrim on our Israel Palestine Mission Network “Come and See, Go and Tell” delegation to Palestine said to me earlier today, “We must have joy, because the oppressors want to take away our joy.” Indeed, the act of joy in the midst of occupation and oppression is resistance in and of itself.

On this trip, we’ve seen many instances of joy and hope. Today, we traveled to Tent of Nations, a farm in the village of Nahalin just southwest of Bethlehem, where Daoud Nassar and his family have been in a legal battle for more than 30 years over ownership of the farm. They are under constant threat from armed settlers and the Israeli Defense Forces, despite having proof of ownership dating back over 100 years.

The Nassars have refused to be victims, grounding their resistance in nonviolence, faith, and peace with justice. Their refusal to hate is a true embodiment of hope in conflict, of Jesus’ call to love your enemy.

Another form of resistance is education in the midst of occupation. Dar Al-Kalima — the first and only institution of higher education in Palestine focused on the performing arts, visual arts, and cultural heritage — was another bright spot of hope.

On this 100° day in Jerusalem, our delegation then took to the streets, joining an interfaith march through the old city of Jerusalem calling for respect for human rights. Like Daoud and his family, these activists we marched with refuse to hate, instead preaching God’s word of overcoming evil with good.

Finally, we ended the day learning about Palestinian folklore and enjoying a traditional Palestinian dabke performance. Dabke is the ultimate form of resistance, connecting Palestinians to their land and signifying not only their struggles, but also their hopes and joys.

As The United Methodist Church “opposes continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes…” we as Christians must continue to work to end occupation everywhere and support nonviolent resistance (Book of Resolutions: Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land).

It is extremely hard to have hope in this time to continue this work. I think of my new shopkeeper friend Abood, whose livelihood depends on tourism in Bethlehem, and who has only had 10 tourists since October 7. He is surrounded by beautiful handcrafted shawls and keffiyehs, with no one to buy them.

But we must persist. I think of the children we’ve encountered on this trip, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, to the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, to the Greek Orthodox Church in Ramallah — children just want joy, and they deserve to experience joy just as any other child in the world does. We must persist so that future generations may not only survive, but thrive.