Lectionary Selection: John 1:43–51
Prayers for Lebanon:
God, you remind us that even Jesus came from a negatively stereotyped town, so we should not disparage, judge, or discriminate against others based on their background. Please help us recognize that our busy lives result in dangerous ignorance of our sisters and brothers, from the inner-cities of the United States to the mountains of Lebanon. Open our minds to our neighbors’ unique experiences and give us faith in their intentions. Motivate us to support organizations working towards reconciliation among Middle Eastern political, religious, and ethnic factions. Empower us to advocate with our legislators to adopt selfless foreign policy so that we may slowly build trust in spite of our shameful history. Please give us compassion for the people in Lebanon, a third of whom are refugees from Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. You say “blessed are the peacemakers,” so please give us faith in your words so that we may be worthy of your blessing. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Lebanon:
Mid-December 2014, the residents of Beirut, Lebanon’s Near East School of Theology gathered to sing Christmas carols and say goodbye to a group of pastors who had joined our community while on sabbaticals. A US pastor encouraged students from Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Germany to share their Christmas traditions. The Nigerian student related a heartbreaking story of how Christians no longer gather for Christmas since Boko Haram launched a series of bombings on Christmas Day, 2011. Lightening the mood, an Armenian student spoke of the resurgence of religious freedom in the wake of Soviet collapse. As the pastor concluded the evening, students requested that someone speak about US Christmas tradition. He looked at me, and while unprepared, I agreed to speak: “Extended families like to gather in one house so they can travel to the airport together the next morning for vacation,” I said. “Inevitably, one child is accidentally left home alone and must emplace comedic traps to fend off goofy burglars.” After seriously listening, the residents began to laugh—everyone has seen the movie “Home Alone.”
Global Ministries supports partners in Lebanon working for reconciliation among Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Christians, Sunnis, Shi`ites, Islamists, secularists, and others in the Middle East. Many Middle Easterners rightly judge the United States for our history of selfish foreign policy, but your support of partners’ reflect the sentiments of compassionate Americans who believe the goodwill we can export is more important than the oil we import. Thank you.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Joel Cooper)
Mission Partners in Lebanon:
- Near East School of Theology
- National Evangelical Church of Beirut
- Haigazian University
- Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue
Global Ministries Missionary in Lebanon:
Joel Cooper, member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Bloomington, Indiana, serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue (FDCD)in Lebanon. His appointment is supported by Week of Compasssion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.