Lectionary Selection: John 1:1-9, 10-18
Prayers for Japan:
As we begin a new year, we look forward with hope.
We pray that this year will bring peace in our communities, and in the world.
At the same time we know that this world is suffering.
Xenophobia, hate crime, and violence, divide us and threaten the peace you mean for us to have.
Be with our leaders, that they may steer us toward a more tolerant society.
Today we especially lift up the minorities in Japan who are subject to discrimination: Such as the Koreans, Okinawans, Ainu, Buraku people, immigrants, and LGBT persons.
We pray for the churches and leaders who minister to and stand with these communities. May you strengthen them as they continue to work for a just and inclusive society.
At the start of this New Year, may we recognize the light that shines in the darkness and do our part to make the light shine and overcome the darkness.
In this New Year, let us walk in the light of Jesus Christ:
The light of acceptance and understanding,
the light of love,
and of peace.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Japan:
The 3rd International Conference on Minority Issues and Mission was held last November in Tokyo. The theme was “Together toward a just and inclusive society in Japan…Justice and inclusivity in Japan, in partnership with all of Japan and the world.” There were 133 participants, including minorities such as Koreans in Japan, immigrants, Ainu, Okinawans, discriminated Buraku and LGBT persons, Aboriginal people of Taiwan and Dalits of India. In addition, representatives of the World Council of Churches, and churches in South Africa, USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, India, Taiwan and Korea participated.
Topics covered included the issue of hate speech directed toward the Koreans in Japan. Participants shared about their efforts to face the challenges of xenophobia and hate crime in their own countries, and about their work toward creating a just and inclusive, multi-cultural society in which peace and welfare are shared with all people. Participants confirmed that this work is a central call of the Gospel and thus a central mission of the Christian Church.
The conference ended with drafting an appeal to the Japanese government, to the citizens of Japan, and to the churches of the world, with concrete actions and strategies that are needed to end discrimination and violence.
This conference is an example of world mission - a collaboration of the global church to work together to address common challenges and to bring about God’s promise of true peace. I am grateful that Global Ministries is a part of this global mission network!
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Martha Mensendiek)
Mission Partners in Japan:
- Asian Rural Institute
- Doshisha University
- Emmaus Center
- Kobe College
- Korean Christian Church in Japan
- Miyagi Gakuin Women's University
- National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ)
- Tohoku Gakuin University
- United Church of Christ in Japan
More information on Japan: http://www.globalministries.org/japan
Global Ministries Missionary in Japan:
Martha Mensendiek serves with Doshisha University in Japan. Her appointment is supported by appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.