Lectionary Selection: Matthew 25:14-30
Prayers for the Philippines:
Dear Creating and Creative God,
At this moment Lord we too often see our leaders utilize fear, power, and violence as ways to address this global health crisis. They are not the servants that you call them to be. They do not fulfill your reign but instead, extrajudicial killings are on the rise once again threatening the lives of human rights defenders throughout the Philippines, so-called ‘Anti-Terror’ Laws are passed to firm the dangerous grasp of the current government, and lies live on the lips of those who are put into positions to protect us but continue to cause more harm.
Lord, we know you put firm footing beneath our steps us we stumble forward. Remind us of the disciples you wish us to be. Actively engaging in our surroundings and not settling for a status quo but creating your kingdom here amongst us.
We welcome your peace and grace to renew our lives.
In your loving name, Amen
Mission Stewardship Moment from the Philippines:
The West Visayas Jurisdiction of the UCCP is launching its prison ministry program to better provide community, support, and sanctuary for political prisoners, human rights defenders, and many others who have been unjustly imprisoned. This new ministry is both a source of communion/fellowship but also importantly a way to actively resist the violent and abusive powers of the current government by providing a platform and tools for prisoners to make their story heard (along with supporting their families and those who have been released). The pandemic and the ineffective leadership around the response to this devastating virus is one of the most significant challenges moving forward with the program with prisons already reporting an alarming 450% congestion rate.
From the earliest weeks of the global health crisis, we could already see activists and humanitarian organizers arrested for supposed quarantine violations. Using the disguise of a pandemic to crack down on those who would risk their own health and safety to make sure others are fed, taken care of, and ministered to. When guidelines call for social distancing the government is making the situation worse by arresting and jailing those who are in “violation” of the quarantine and adding to the already large prison population. Homeless/urban poor may have no homes to begin with so the unrealistic, harsh, and unjust policies of blanket application of the quarantine restrictions targets those who are already hit the most by our lopsided society.
Our God is a comfort and path for hope and justice. God is also a pusher, table-flipper, turn the world upside down activator who does not find peace in the current injustices we have in the Philippines and our world today. Thank you for continuing to support us as we find firm footing as we step forward with the prison ministry.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Andrew Larsen
Mission Partners in the Philippines:
More information on the Philippines: https://www.globalministries.org/philippines
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in the Philippines:
Andrew Larsen serves with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.