Lectionary Selection: Luke 22:14-23:56
Dear Lord, today we celebrate your son’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. Unfortunately we know that the joy of the crowd, singing “Hosanna,” will soon be replaced by cries of “crucify him.” As we read today’s biblical texts, retelling the story of the last supper and betrayal of Jesus, we are called upon to meditate on the mystery of Jesus’ saving sacrifice. Before singing with jubilation the good news of Easter, we must pass through the sadness of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and eventual crucifixion. Like Simon Peter we are humbled by our lacks of faith but wait expectantly for the good news of the ressurection.
Lord, with this in mind, we pray for the islands of Guadleoupe and Martinique. We pray for those who are in despair but continue to hope for a better future. We pray for those with economic troubles; for those who are excluded from mainstream society; for those on the streets; for those in prison. We ask you to help us comfort them in their pain, provide for their needs and help them rebuild their lives. As Simon Peter went from denying Christ to being charged with leading the church, may you transform the lives of those living on our two sister islands.
Prayers for Martinique and Guadeloupe:
We pray for the life and ministry of the Protestant Reformed Churches of Guadeloupe and Martinique. We also pray for the witness and ministry of the Protestant Prison Chaplaincy and the chaplains that work in the islands’ three prisons. We pray for the non-profit organisations Accolade-Caraibes, Secours Catholique, La CIMADE and the Foyer St. Vincent of Paul as they struggle to help those in dire need.
May your peace and love blow across all the islands of the Caribbean.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Guadeloupe and Martinique:
In Guadeloupe and Martinique, it is now the season when sugar cane is harvested. Workers and tractors are in the fields, trucks, loaded with tons of cane stalks drive back and forth between the sugar and rum factories and smoke fills the air as the harvested fields are burned off.
A visitor to the islands, while being a bit bothered by the smoke in certain areas, would probably be impressed by all of the activity. Sugar is a commodity and given the activity on the islands it would seem that business is good.
For people of caribbean descent, however, sugar cane is much more than a simple commodity. To fully understand the caribbean, one must understand sugar cane and it’s imapct on caribbean society. As I walk through the streets of Guadleoupe, I understand that sugar cane is the main reason why the majority of faces I see are black. During the colonial era, european powers, brought in millions of african slaves to work in the sugar cane fields. These slaves were forced to break their backs, working in the heat and humidity, so that others, across the sea, could enjoy eating their cakes and bon-bons and sipping their rum. While the slaves worked,suffered and died in the fields, plantation owners built lavish homes on the islands and in european cities such as London, Paris and Amsterdam.
Even today, the riches of sugar cane go to a few. While the majority of the workers in the field are payed minimal wages, the land owners, sugar producers and rum distillers make up a large part of the islands’ wealthy class. It seems as if cakes, bon-bons and rum are just as profitable as always and that the profits are still unevenly distributed.
Many islanders have a little bit of sugar cane growing in their back yards. They press it for juice, or cut it into small sticks to chew on. As you can imagine, most of my guadeloupean friends have fond childhood memories of chewing on cane stalks.
Adapting to local culture, I too planted a small patch of sugar cane. Over the next few months I watched happily as it grew and when some of the stalks were large enough, I cut one down and split it into pieces for my son to chew on. Being a novice, I inevitably cut open my finger on the sharp leaves of the cane stalk. Watching my son happily chewing on the stalks, as I put a band-aid on my finger, I couldn’t help but think back upon the history of sugar cane in the Caribbean.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Tim Rose)
Mission Partners in Guadeloupe and Martinique:
Protestant Reformed Church of Guadeloupe
Protestant Reformed Church of Martinique
More information on Guadeloupe and Martinique:
Global Ministries Missionary in Guadeloupe/Martinique:
Tim Rose, a member of the United Church of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, serves the Protestant Reformed Church in Guadeloupe and Martinique as the Pastoral Assistant for Diaconal Ministries and as a Prison Chaplain. He is jointly appointed by Global Ministries and the DEFAP (the mission agency of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches in France).