Lectionary Selection: Matthew 1:18-25
Prayers for Colombia:
Today we pray for the country of Colombia and our partners in mission there. Their resolute commitment to work for peace and the victims of violence has put them in harm's way. We remember today that you came to us in the fragility of a newborn baby, and we pray for all life around the world. May the prince of peace accompany our partners in Colombia and all countries that face the challenges of war and violence this Christmas season.
Today we are reminded that you have come to be with us, oh God, Emmanuel. May your presence in our lives and in the lives of our friends from Colombia push us toward justice and peace. Your love can overcome all division, can heal all wounds, and can restore all those who have suffered harm with loving justice.
We thank you, God, for the witness of Justapaz and of the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia. Encourage them and give them strength this Christmas as they share your love in the country of Colombia.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Colombia:
In December 2016 the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC guerrilla group, signed a historic peace accord. Shortly thereafter the FARC asked our Global Ministries partner in Colombia, Justapaz, a justice and peace ministry of the Mennonite Church of Colombia for assistance in developing a conflict resolution model for their demobilization camps. Justapaz, through partner organization Cafepaz agreed to do it, with a few conditions: that the workshops cover not just conflict transformation, but also restorative justice and that they include local community members, many of whom had been victims of Colombia’s civil war.
This is how our partners in Colombia came to facilitate restorative justice circles in Colombia. In these circles, they talked for hours about the central questions of restorative justice: What do those who have suffered harm (sometimes called victims) need to be restored and be able to move forward with renewed strength? And after dealing with that for a while, to also ask, and ¿What do those who have caused harm (sometimes called perpetrators) need to stop causing harm and also turn their lives around and be restored from the harm they too may have suffered and that they caused or participated in? And lastly, what do we all need, as an entire community to be restored and to ensure that we may move forward together, towards a community where no one suffers harm, towards a community where we can transform our conflicts from leading us to violence, to conflicts that call us to find creative solutions that meet everyone’s needs.
We thank God today for the courageous work of our partners, through Global Ministries, in Colombia.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Michael Joseph
More information on Colombia: https://www.globalministries.org/colombia
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Colombia:
Michael Joseph serves with the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (CEDECOL). His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.