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Ash Wednesday

On February 14 I was part of an Ashwednesday vesper in front of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ashwednesday is a Catholic tradition that marks the beginning of Lent – the 40-day period before easter. It is a time of introspection, reflection, and repentance. The tradition is valued among Christians from various denominations. This year, we felt the urge to have a moment of introspection and repentance of the structural sins we are (unwillingly)part of.

The Dutch government is supplying (spare) fighter jet parts to the Israeli Air Force for use in Gaza. PAX and Oxfam Novib filed a lawsuit against the state. On Feb 12, our court ruled that there is an ‘undeniable risk that the components of F35 fighter jets that the Netherlands supplies to Israel will be used to enable serious violations of international humanitarian law. The court ruled that the delivery must stop. However, the state is appealing this ruling in cessation.


On Ashwednesday, in front of the Ministry, we repent. We repent for how we as citizens for this country are unwillingly involved in war crimes. We repent for how we fall short in solidarity with those who suffer from injustice and violence. We repent for how we fall short in love and allow ourselves to be led by cynicism and hatred.


For me, these kinds of moments are what being a church is about. Being together with a community that longs for change, that longs for peace and justice. A community that does not shy away from politics, and applies the call of our faith in every aspect of our personal and communal life.


This Lent, we are open for transformation, whilst we ask our governments, our societies, and even our churches to change.


More on the courtcase, see here

Wrutten by: Eline van der Kaaden.

Student-assistent of ACRPJ and Board member of Kairos-Sabeel theNetherlands.


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