Lectionary Selection: Luke 4:14-21
Prayers for Germany:
Lord, our brother Jesus was rejected by the people who thought they knew him best – his hometown folk. They couldn’t believe that one of their own could have anything of worth to say to this tiny village. Freedom from poverty, oppression, illness? What nonsense; what audacity. Seventy-four years ago, you called Germany, decimated by the moral atrocity of the Holocaust, back into life. Clear-headed leaders, former enemies, came together to create a democracy with a socially just mandate. Now, though only a fraction of the size of the United States, Germany’s just society is unraveling as increasingly fewer people take over the resources of the land. Fear of and hatred for the stranger is on the rise. The numbers of children and elderly living in poverty increase yearly. We call on you, God, to help this nation restore its mandate of justice for all. Help us to take seriously our responsibility for each other’s welfare, knowing that in you, there are no national borders; that we are all one in your eyes. Help us, as US citizens and witnesses to the same ills in our own land, to be sisters and brothers together in the work of creating a just world for all; help us to be servants in building up the kingdom of heaven on earth.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Germany:
Yesterday was Epiphany Sunday – the sermon text: the three wise men, Herod and Joseph’s little family fleeing violence. What would Jesus want us to do with his story? I don’t think he would want us to stop at romanticizing it. I think he would want us to see this story as the story of every family fleeing violence, of every innocent in danger, and to do our part to protect our children.
The State of Hessen is among the most prosperous in Germany. And yet, a 7-minute walk from the center of Wiesbaden, the state capital, 40% of the children live below the poverty line; that 7-minute walk brings us here, to the Bergkirche quarter. Overthe last decade, Germany’s place in the world in terms of quality of life has gone from number 4 to number 14, while the US has gone from number one to number 17. The refugees aren’t bringing the quality of life down in the US and in Germany, the 45 richest households now possess half of its wealth. In the US, it’s just 3 people. The Bible tells us that too much wealth is soul-killing. Economists say it kills the system. Amassed wealth is like a black hole, it literally sucks more and more to itself, making it ultimately impossible for the economy to function in a healthy way.
The Bergkirche daycare/kindergarten (KITA) serves 120+ children from 19 nations, ages 18 months to 6 years, with after-school care for children up to age 12. Every Monday morning, a number of children arrive hungry, sometimes without shoes, or with shoes too small and worn to do anything but hurt their young feet. Our little congregation has agreed to use our worship collection to help the KITA supply shoes and other necessities for these children. We will need your help to do this work.
Our small congregation is beginning its 5th year. The first three years were financed by an outreach fund of the EKHN Ecumenical Center. The 4th year, we raised the required €15,000 mostly from the congregation, but also through the contributions of congregation friends in Germany and the US. We are deeply grateful to Global Ministries for its financial and spiritual support. Our budget pays for a ¼ pastoral salary, music ministry and our community outreach activities.
Our UCC-EKHN Partnership team hosted our first American-style Thanksgiving for the Wiesbaden community in November. I've shared photos here of the happy event.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Rosalind Gnatt
Mission Partners in Germany:
More information on Germany: https://www.globalministries.org/germany
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Germany:
Rosalind Gnatt serves with the Evangelical Church of Hesse-Nassau, Germany. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.