Lectionary Selection: John 2:1-11
Prayers for Indonesia:
God of truth and justice, we pray for Indonesia in its struggle to heal the wounds of past oppression and to overcome the endemic corruption that sickens public life and robs the people of the resources that could bring them a better life. We thank you for the courage of those who put their lives and livelihoods at risk to seek justice, and for the bonds of friendship, patience, and tolerance that enable Muslims and Christians to work together in peace.
We pray for the newly elected leadership of the Protestant Church of Timor and its Moderator, Rev. Dr. Mery Kolimon, the first woman to lead the synod of one of Indonesia’s largest churches. Give them wisdom and courage to establish responsible stewardship of the church’s limited resources and to restore the church’s prophetic voice in a time when Mammon seems to speak louder than the Gospel.
For the people of central Timor, we pray for rain. After nine months with no rainfall, the wells and springs are dry, and the riverbeds have only a trickle of muddy water. Give them your rain to drink, to cook, to wash, to grow their crops, and to restore their spirits. We ask these things as sisters and brothers in Christ. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Indonesia:
Weddings are a very big deal in Eastern Indonesia, as they were in Palestine in Jesus’ time. Clan alliances are strengthened, brideprice is exchanged, animals are slaughtered, lines of future inheritance are determined, and most of all, a lavish communal feast presents the opportunity to make a play for greater social status. That is, if you don’t run out of wine at the height of the festivities (or meat, in the case of Indonesia). Considering what little regard Jesus had for social status, that is probably why he seems a bit irritated when his mother asked him to do something to save their Cana cousins from embarrassment.
Knowing how important weddings are, the colonial church made them a tool of social control. Traditional weddings were considered invalid, and those who failed to seek the church’s blessing were barred from communion and their children were refused baptism. These rules still apply in most Indonesian churches. In my teaching and my work with the Synod’s commission on church order here in Timor, I have tried to “decolonize” our understanding of marriage and encourage critical cooperation with ethnic traditions. At GMIT’s recent Synod meeting, a draft revision of church discipline was approved that would remove the punishment from those who marry according to local tradition.
All the fuss about controlling marriage here has caused us to miss the point about the Cana event. It wasn’t about the wedding, it was about the wine. The presence of Jesus among us brings joy and celebration. We should be suspicious of any Biblical interpretation that turns the Gospel into a tool for social control.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by John Campbell-Nelson)
Mission Partners in Indonesia:
- Artha Wacana Christian University
- Christian Church of Sumba
- Protestant Church of West Timor (GMIT)
- Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI)
- Duta Wacana Christian University, Yogyakarta
- Gerega Protestan Indonesia LUWU (GPIL)
- Gereja Kristen Sulawesi Barat (Christian Church of West Sulawesi)
- Institute for Interfaith Dialog -Interfide, Yogyakarta
- Jakarta Theological Seminary
- Protestant Church in South Sulawesi (GKSS)
- Satya Wacana Christian University
- Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Gereja Kristen Sumba (STT GKS)
- Theological Seminary of Eastern Indonesia - STT, Makassar
More information on Indonesia: http://www.globalministries.org/indonesia
Global Ministries Missionary in Indonesia:
John Campbell-Nelson serves with the Evangelical Church of West Timor (GMIT). His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.