Lectionary Selection: Luke 4:1-13
Prayers for India:
Thank you for the blessing of the beautiful land and culture of India. You are truly present here in the landscapes and environment and certainly in the hearts of so many people.
We pray that you are with those here who continually face difficulty in the form of oppression and rejection. Those who feel that, due to their caste or gender, their birth is a mistake. We know, dear Lord, that you do not make mistakes. Let them always feel accepted and loved unconditionally through you.
Continue to lift up those fighting for change. Those who are standing up for acceptance and justice. Keep them safe from harm as they attempt to fight a tradition of oppression. May their efforts break through and may progress be made.
Bless this country and the people in it. In your son’s name we pray.
Mission Stewardship Moment from India:
Thus far India has been a land of contrast and contradictions; stunning landscape and rich cultural history juxtaposed next to poverty and oppression. I have had the good fortune to be able to travel around Chennai, and see the work of the Church of South India. They are doing truly powerful and meaningful work. In recent months, a flood swept through the city of Chennai. Homes were flooded, items were ruined. People lost access to food and water as well as work to replace such things. The Christians in this area responded to the needs of their community with all the power of God’s love. The church asked Christians in the community to cut back on spending for Christmas. They asked to take all the money that would be spent on fancy dinners, trees and decorations and spent it in the service of others. They also gave their time and efforts to run shelters in their churches, hand out food and help rebuild. For me the most powerful part of this movement, is that many of these people are struggling themselves being members of the Dalit caste.
I was told that here the mission is not “to the margins” but rather “from the margins.” Out of the 25 million Christians in India, 20 million of them come from the caste of Dalits. This is a self-given name, roughly translating to “broken.” These people are thought of us as untouchable by a large portion of their fellow countrymen and as such face oppression and discrimination despite the caste system being outlawed in India. The ideology remains. No matter their own personal gifts and attributes, they can never move out of this social standing which can lead to tragic results. Recently, a PhD college student took his own life due to this oppression. His intellect and determination did not change the way he was viewed by many of his peers. He left a note that read “my birth was a tragic accident.” The Dalits are viewed as lower than the lowest. But this is not to say that they do not enjoy life. While visiting a rural area outside of Chennai, I was pulled into a circle of men playing drums and together we danced and laughed to the beat. I have learned so much in my short time here about what it means to truly show love and kindness to another human. I have never felt so welcome. So please pray for these beautifully-hearted people as they continue to fight their own oppression from the margins.
And it is these people who are working to change Indian Society. They are the ones fighting against the social injustice, fighting against the poverty and fighting against the patriarchy. The Church of South India is busy. They are facilitating the celebration of life and love despite difficult circumstances. They are holding hands with people different from them. They are a wonderful example of God’s love in our world and I am blessed to have met them.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Ben Lyvers)
Mission Partners in India:
- Center for Interfaith Relations, Study and Joint Action - Peace Trust, Kanyakamuri
- Christian Medical Association of India (CMAI)
- Christian Medical College, Ludhiana
- Christian Medical College, Vellore
- Church of North India (CNI)
- Church of South India (CSI)
- Church's Auxiliary for Social Action - CASA
- Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Jamkhed
- CREATE (Center for Research Education Action Training and Evaluation)
- Darjeerling Tibetan Refugee Center and Tibetan Children's Village
- Deep Griha Society, Pune
- Family Village Farm and King's Matriculation
- Henry Martyn Institute for Research, Interfaith Relations and Reconciliation
- Indian Samaritans, New Delhi
- Lady Doak College
- Pravaham, Vellore
- Student Christian Movement of India
- Tamilnadu Theological Seminary
- United Theological College, Bangalore
More information on India: http://www.globalministries.org/india
Global Ministries Missionary in India:
Ben Lyvers serves as a long term volunteer with the Church of North India. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church's Wider Mission, and your special gifts.