Lectionary Selection: Genesis 32:22–31
Prayers for Hong Kong:
Weary with exhaustion, we come before you, O God of Creation, weary from constantly wrestling and struggling with you, ourselves and others. We praise you. We worship you. We say that we serve you. But still we wrestle and struggle with you even though you are our Creator and the Creator of all life.
Like Jacob, we wrestle you but stop before your blessings come and defeated wonder why. We wonder why but know the answer deep within, and we are afraid. We are afraid of letting go of the ego, of being humble, of surrendering to your will.
Our struggle not just with you and ourselves is also with others. We wrestle and struggle with each other in Hong Kong over the march toward democracy and political reform, over the distribution of the city’s wealth, over the conflict between development and preservation of the environment and over historic structures. Our community divides, God. Competition for power wealth and resources has replaced cooperation. As in our struggle with you, God, our egos want the last word.
As we wrestle and struggle with the issues of our community of Hong Kong, God, we pray for your wisdom to guide us, to remind us to find life’s meaning in our relationship with others. Teach us to preserve life. May the values Jesus taught us be a beacon to direct us as we seek to find answers to problems that perplex us. In this process, may our weary exhaustion be transformed into energized joy. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Hong Kong:
Since its inception in 2003, Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) has focused on the development of youth from Asia’s various faith communities, but youth development for what purpose?
From its origins, it has worked for peace with justice, or just peace, as an interfaith network of young people throughout Asia to work together and cooperate to address poverty, human rights abuses, violent conflict and other serious concerns of communities. This collaboration is based on shared common values embedded in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and the spirituality of indigenous people.
ICF has sought to strengthen its network in the past few years by creating national forums where it has at least five members within the country. Presently, there are national forums in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand. Each forum meets at least once a year to plan activities that they will collectively undertake to respond to issues affecting their society.
The national forum in Indonesia met in July 2014 in Poso on the island of Sulawesi. In the forum, it was decided to host a School of Peace (SOP) for two weeks in November 2014 in Kalimantan—Indonesia’s portion of the large island of Borneo. It would be in conjunction with the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). The two regional Christian institutions, of which ICF is a joint program, are based, respectively, in Hong Kong and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
While the exact content of this SOP remains to be decided, it will follow the broad outline of all SOP curriculums. To sensitizing participants to every person’s multiple identities based on gender, religion, nationality, race and ethnicity, and how our identities, especially in our world today, can lead to tension and conflict. Also on ways of relating to others who have a different identity to ours, particularly when there are conflict and transformation of oneself and one’s community. A special focus of the SOP in Kalimantan will be on the injustice of forced land evictions to create palm oil plantations that primarily affect the livelihood and spirituality of indigenous people, as well as lead to the degradation of the environment. It is an issue that, in effect, puts profits over the rights and spirituality of local people.
As well as learning and hopefully looking at the world and society in new ways, SOP also offers the potential for a national forum and ICF to expand its membership, which currently for ICF has 98 young people in 16 countries. Thank you for your prayers and gifts that make this ministry possible.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Bruce Van Voorhis)
Mission Partners in Hong Kong:
- Asian Human Rights Commission
- Christian Study Institute in Chinese Culture and Religion
- Chung Chi College Divinity School
- Hong Kong Christian Council
- Hong Kong Christian Institute
- Hong Kong Christian Service
- Hong Kong Christian Women’s Council
- Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China
More information on Hong Kong:
Global Ministries Missionary in Hong Kong:
Bruce Van Voorhis, a member of Wellshire Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado, serves the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs in Hong Kong. He coordinates the interfaith programs. This work is supported by Our Church’s Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.