Lectionary Selection: Mark 9:30-37
Prayers for East Timor:
Gracious God, you have taught us. You have shown us. You have been among us. And yet it seems we have learned little. Children are still marginalized and victimized. They are the targets of traffickers. They are exploited in pornography. They are enslaved. They are malnourished and lack opportunities for education. We know that there are reasons for this O God. We have made choices that do not prioritize children. We have not welcomed them.
And so we pray: Bless, O God, the children of the world. Bless those who live in the slums. Bless those who live in war zones and refugee camps. Bless those who live in rural areas, laboring long hours to survive. Bless those who are victims of traffickers and those who live in captivity. Bless those in the suburbs and those in the neighborhoods. And bless us big people that we will get our priorities straight and invest our time, energy and resources in children. In the name of the one who welcomes children, we pray, Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from East Timor:
Today’s gospel reading invites reflection on the sacramental character of children. Jesus tells his disciples that “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
In East Timor an estimated 46% of children under 5 are chronically malnourished. Malnourishment in childhood leads to stunting, delayed physical development, and learning difficulties. Dealing with this is one of the biggest challenges the country faces. For its part, Global Ministries partner Immanuel Clinic is starting a feeding program for Sunday School kids at Immanuel Church. Although this is a small group, it will serve as a sample of children in Lospalos and may lead to a larger response. Clinic staff will start by doing a nutritional status assessment of kids who attend Sunday School and provide a regular, protein-rich breakfast. Nutrition education is another part of this work. For this the clinic has long been a community leader in providing basic information on how parents can do a better job with nutritious food.
Throughout history children have often been regarded as less than fully human. In today’s world the situation is no different. Child labor and human trafficking destroy the lives of kids. Governments that view education and nutrition programs as wasteful spending undermine the future. Jesus calls us to a different way. He insists that children are not only fully human but also bear a unique divine spark.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Tom Liddle)
Mission Partner in East Timor:
More information on East Timor: http://www.globalministries.org/east_timor
Global Ministries Mission Coworker in East Timor:
Tom Liddle, a member of Peace United Church of Christ, Duluth, Minnesota, will serve with the Protestant Church of East Timor (IPTL) as a facilitator for strengthening congregations and continuing education of pastors. Make a gift that supports the work of Tom Liddle