Lectionary Selection: Luke 14:1, 7-14
Prayers for Philippines
ΓÇ¿ΓÇ¿We often keep our associations with those of like-mind who are agreeable. Forgive us for holding ourselves apart from those with which we differ – this prolongs friction and discourages understanding. Guide us to relationships of harmony.
Heavenly One, please soften the hearts of those of us who hold power. Open our eyes to the struggle of those who are overlooked and neglected. Teach us to be inclusive, humble, and attentive to the decisions we make that affect us all. Encourage us in our churches to work for justice. Strengthen our resolve to accompany those who are found on the margins, wedged between oppression and neglect. Encourage us to break bread with our enemy. Teach us to be a model of humility, to initiate relationships with those where disagreement lies, with those we view as rivals. Humble those of us who hold positions of power, whether that power is through our government or our church. Remove our stubbornness and prejudice so that we may embrace one another as brothers and sisters. Give us the gift of being good listeners who strain to hear and strive to understand. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Philippines
I was making my rounds visiting church members in a Northern Philippines community. My purpose there was to study and assess the condition of the community where a large mining company was seizing private property: homes, farms, and small mining sites for their operations. I paid a visit to the home of one member who was the former chairmen of the local church, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. We couldn't meet at the church or in a restaurant for lunch because he was hiding from the police over accusations of being associated with terrorism. These false accusations by the government are a common practice to silence and oppress Filipino people. ΓÇ¿ΓÇ¿He was choked up and I sat with him for some time listening to his story. He was so heartbroken that his fellow countrymen, indigenous brothers and sisters, betrayed him with their accusations of being associated with terrorism. He was torn that members of his own church worked for the mining company who seized personal land for corporate gain, contributing to great tension within the community.
This encounter made me pause to reflect on the gift of Christian community. We are transformed and awakened when we recognize our decisions affect those around us – even those sitting beside us in church. My home church made a decision to give an offering to support advocacy work here in the Philippines. Their understanding has grown and their generosity called them to a faithful response.
Global Ministries Missionary in Philippines
Matthew Fehse, a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Redding, California, serves with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), where he works with the human rights desk.
Mission Partners in Philippines
- Dansalan College Foundation
- Northern Christian College
- Silliman University
- Southern Christian College
- Union Theological Seminary
- United Church of Christ in the Philippines
More information on Philippines: http://globalministries.org/eap/countries/philippines/