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Windy City Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage

Welcome & Preparation for Pilgrimage

We imagine ourselves at home, getting ready for this pilgrimage to Gaza. Every pilgrimage begins and ends where you live. Attending to your own roots and the places and people they connect you to is an essential part of pilgrimage. The journey will reconfigure your connection to people and land and expand your world. It will create new affections, kinships, and duties. 

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Pilgrimage

A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place in search of new insight or transformation, or to pray for the soul of a loved one. This pilgrimage is all of these and more. 

Gaza is a sacred place and we seek to become steadfast in our care for others and to pray for the souls of loved ones in Gaza.

Every pilgrimage starts and ends where you live. This place is an essential aspect of your pilgrimage--the journey should expand your understanding of the world and bring Gaza closer to home. Gaza will no longer be "foreign" but will be part of your community.

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Faith Motivated

This pilgrimage is a protest, but it is a unique protest--it is a devotional protest, a reverent march, a spiritual cry.

This cry is shared across faith communities, so you will be joining Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others who are moved by faith to prayer and action.

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Scenes and Prayers

As you move along the path, you will encounter signs with QR codes that open a digital prayer station. You will be invited to imagine a scene in Gaza and to envision yourself standing inside of the scene, as an exercise in sacred imagination, as you pray. This is physical, spiritual, and envisioned pilgrimage.

It is from inside of these scenes that we invite you to offer the prayers assembled by our faith leaders.

Opening Prayers

We are grateful to Adam Gottlieb, Aisha Subhan, and Tiana Coleman for blessing us with their leadership and spiritual care.

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Land Acknowledgement

We live on the traditional homelands of the Council of Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa. This land has also nurtured Menominee, HoChunk, Illiniwek, Miami, Sauk, and Fox nations among countless unnamed and unknown nations who came before. Most recently, this ground was home to the Potawatomi, who built villages along the Illinois River and its tributaries, and hunted, fished, and traded right here. Depleted by war and hungry from the orchestrated loss of natural resources and crops, Potawatomi groups ceded their lands, including the ground we stand on this morning, to the United States in treaties in the 1820s and 30s. Soon thereafter, the United States evicted the Potawatomi to Missouri, Iowa, Northern Wisconsin, and Oklahoma where small communities continue living today.

 

Consider learning more about American Indian experiences and hearing from Indigenous people directly. Consider reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz or Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer; you can also connect with the Midwest SOARRING Foundation, a regional Native cultural center based in the Western suburbs.

Parallel to Palestine

American Indians were severed from their land. We are standing against a very similar kind of removal taking place in Palestine. It should cause us to pray and press for justice with humility and determination.

Lo Yisa Goy (Nation Shall Not)...

לֹא־יִשָּׂ֨א ג֤וֹי אֶל־גּוֹי֙ חֶ֔רֶב וְלֹֽא־יִלְמְד֥וּ ע֖וֹד מִלְחָמָֽה

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev, Lo yil'm'du od milchama. 

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they ever again train for war.

 

Isaiah 2:4 

 

Shalom

Salaam

Shalom

Salaam

 

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev

Lo yil'm'du od milchama. 

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev

Lo yil'm'du od milchama. 

 

Shalom

Salaam

Shalom

Salaam

 

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation

They shall study for war no more

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation

They shall study for war no more

 

Shalom

Salaam

Shalom

Salaam

Opening Prayers

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem,

 

In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful. The first chapter of the Quran, al-Fatiha, translated often as the opener, or she that opens, guides us to follow the straight path. This call for opening is one that should also break open our hearts. At this moment, our hearts break over and over again. In this breaking, we must become softer, more steadfast, and more attune to suffering. I imagine that this walk we will tread together, in prayerful solidarity, mirrors the straight path.

 

Let us embark on this path with moral clarity and open hearts. As we look out to the lakefront, let us remember the sea in Gaza that can no longer drown out the sound of the bombs; as we settle into our bodies, let us remember the one’s lost and dismembered; as we engage in prayer, let us remember the divine mercy that we seek; as we take these steps together, let us remember solidarity is both sentiment and practice. This is the straight path.

Opening Prayers

We come with heavy hearts. From afar we have witnessed the devastation, the suffering, and the continual cry for help that goes unanswered. We have seen things that we cannot unsee, that we should not unsee. As we begin this pilgrimage like David we ask quietly in our hearts, and sometimes aloud as we look to heaven “How long, O Lord?!”

 

As we begin this pilgrimage we hope and we trust and we pray for relief, for change, for ceasefire, because like Peter we know the answer to the question “Lord to whom shall we go?” So, God, we come to you hoping and trusting that You will see and act. As we begin this pilgrimage we remember that it is not about us. It is about being in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Gaza. It is about acknowledging their humanity. That they are made in the image of God. That they, too, should know and experience love, wholeness, and peace.

 

And now we begin.

Faith Leaders

Adam Gottlieb, Co-Cantorial Soloist, Tzedek Chicago

Aisha Subhan, PhD student and interreligious leader, Chicago Theological Seminary

Rev. Tiana Coleman, Associate Pastor, Missio Dei Uptown

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