Earth Day in Hong Kong

Earth Day in Hong Kong

Prayer of Intercession
Kowloon Union Church
April 23, 2017

Lord, last Sunday we celebrated your resurrection and life that springs from death during Easter.

Today we continue to celebrate life with yesterday’s commemoration of Earth Day as we give thanks for the gifts of clean air, water and soil that you have given us to sustain our lives. We often take these gifts for granted, however, and abuse this inheritance of life that has been given to us. We even deny that we are playing a role in altering the balance of life of the planet. Lord, we pray that we will be worthy stewards of this gift we have inherited from previous generations and that through a less consumption-oriented lifestyle and other modified behaviors we can pass these gifts to our children and to our children’s children. We ask that the leaders of the world’s nations will implement policies and laws that protect these gifts you have given us so that future generations will enjoy air and water that is free from pollution and soil without toxins. We especially pray that the environmental degradation found in China after decades of so-called development will be addressed by its leaders and people and that the increasing emphasis on generating power from renewable energy sources will continue.

As we come to this place of worship this Sunday to feel once again renewed and refreshed by the Easter message of life that springs from death, we must confess, however, Lord, that too often we, as members of the global human family, take a path that contributes to the physical and spiritual death of our sisters and brothers through acts of violence, through discriminatory attitudes, through the exploitation of others. In short, Lord, we too frequently deny life and break the relationships that bind us together as children of God and that bind us to you.

It is in this spirit that we remember today, Lord, the people of Syria, of Iraq and of Yemen in the Middle East whose daily lives have become days of living hell from years of bombs and fighting, of devastated homes and livelihoods. We pray that your wisdom will fill the minds of the leaders and peoples of these lands and your peace will settle within their hearts, that war for power, for resources, for land, will end, that political problems will be resolved through dialogue and not through more death and more destruction. We pray especially for those who have been displaced from their homes or who have fled their countries. We ask that they will be protected and that they will find a place that is safe and secure to live.

We also lift up to you today, Lord, the people of the Korean Peninsula who have been separated for more than half a century by ideology and distrust. May they too come to know the joy of peace and reconciliation through an end to the separation of Korean families for the past 64 years.

We remember today too, Lord, those who languish in prison because of their political opinions or religious beliefs. We especially think of the nearly 200 political prisoners in Burma today as we recall the third anniversary of the death this past week of U Win Tin, a co-founder of the National League for Democracy and a former political prisoner in the country for 20 years. May those who wield power in Burma and other countries respect the views and beliefs of their fellow citizens and not see them as a threat to their authority but instead appreciate them as an attempt to improve the common good of the nation.

We recollect as well another event today that occurred in April three years ago in Nigeria—the abduction of more than 200 secondary schoolgirls by Boko Haram of whom most are still missing. We pray that they will soon be reunited with their families and friends and that Boko Haram will embrace the peace that their Islamic faith promotes rather than resort to violence in the name of their faith.

In Latin America, we pray for the people of Venezuela as they seek to resolve the political turmoil in their country that’s been aggravated by an economic crisis that includes a shortage of goods, triple-digit inflation and high unemployment. We ask that tensions may subside so that the people and the country’s leaders can find common solutions to these divisive problems.

In Hong Kong, we face our own divisions. We pray that hope, trust, compassion and peace rooted in justice will form the foundation of our community as it wrestles with the difficult task of political reform. We especially remember the nine Umbrella Movement activists who are now facing criminal charges for their acts of civil disobedience more than two years ago to achieve a more democratic political system for our city. May your wisdom guide them and your strength sustain them.

In our community, we also pray for liver recipient Tang Kwai-sze and her speedy recovery. We give thanks for the model of compassion and sacrifice that the liver donor, Momo Cheng, has given us. May it serve as a beacon of inspiration for all of us to act to offer life to others, even strangers. May her example motivate others to become organ donors as well.

In our own church family at KUC, our hearts are filled with gratitude that one of our pastors has been released from the hospital. We continue to remember and pray as well for renewed health for other members of our congregation who are facing health issues. May your healing power touch their lives, and may you bless them with the strength and patience they need to recover their health.

Lastly, with Christians throughout the world, we pray today as part of the ecumenical prayer cycle for the people and churches of the neighboring countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. We ask that these lands will enjoy peace through dialogue after periods of war; and in returning to our focus today on World Earth Day, we pray that the environmental problems that all three nations face will be addressed.

All of these prayers we lift up to you, Lord. In your Son’s name, we pray. Amen.

With Peace,

Bruce Van Voorhis serves as missionary with the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCA’s in Hong Kong. He serves as the Coordinator for Interfaith Programs. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.