Lectionary Selection: Luke 3: 1-6
Photo: Hong Wing
Prayers for Hong Kong:
On this second Sunday of Advent, God, we prepare for the celebration of your arrival in our midst more than 2,000 years ago—a presence that still fills our spirits with love, joy and peace.
As we work to prepare the way of the Lord, to straighten the crooked paths and to smooth the rough edges of our world, we find ourselves still wandering in the wilderness.
In Hong Kong, we are in need of the repentance of which John the Baptist spoke, for our working poor continue to work and to remain impoverished; our youth—even university graduates—find it increasingly difficult to find a job; the elderly, who should be enjoying their retirement, are digging through our garbage to get goods to recycle to survive; and, while some homeowners can afford a luxury apartment costing as much as nearly US$1,900 per square foot, others—as many as 100,000 people—call a bunk bed and other marginalized living spaces their home. All of these social sins are reflected in the ever--widening gap between the richest and poorest members of our community—the largest disparity among the world’s developed economies.
In this world we have created in Hong Kong, God, we have taken the wrong path. It is why we search for that star in the sky and the path to that manger in Bethlehem where answers lie. We pray that you will lead us there once again. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Hong Kong:
Today people in Poso on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are still trying to rebuild their lives after violence between the Muslim and Christian communities more than a decade ago. Some people from both faith communities who fled their homes have not returned, and there is still a degree of tension that can quickly erupt into violence, even as recently as shootings and bombings this October.
Two alumni from the School of Peace (SOP), which is conducted by the Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) have been working to address the needs of people and repair the relationships between the two faith communities since they returned from the SOP in Bangalore, India, in 2010. Suwarti Ningsih, a Christian woman, is now working for World Vision to address the needs of those who are still displaced, and Gunawan, a Muslim man, manages two interfaith projects for Care Community for Women and Children. In the first project, the curriculum includes women’s rights, public speaking, domestic violence and public policy advocacy while at the House of Children more than 400 young people between the ages of 7 and 17 have taken part in activities about helping others, respecting those who are different, valuing gender equality and preserving the environment.
(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
Video Resources about Hong Kong:
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.