Lord of Life, of Love, of Justice and of Peace, we give thanks today for the gift of life you have given us and a world of wonder to sustain us and give us joy.
We have not treasured or respected this gift though. We wake up today, Lord, to a world that is not wonderful, that is divided by nation, by race and ethnicity, by religion. We mourn with our sisters and brothers in Kenya the deaths of those senselessly killed this past week in Nairobi. Comfort those who have lost family members, and heal those who have been injured. We pray that dialogue will win the war of politics and ideology, that non-violent solutions will prevail to address our differences and conflicts.
We wake up today, Lord, to a world that is not wonderful where exploitation of others is too common, where money is more important than life. We ask that the government of India implement measures to safeguard the rights of the nation’s workers and ensure a living wage for those who work but who are still poor. Like India, we pray that the strike of workers in Bangladesh will not be in vain, that factory owners will share a greater portion of their company’s wealth with those who produce it.
We wake up today, Lord, to a world that is not wonderful in which the world you created, our environment, is being degraded and destroyed and our health is being assaulted by what we call development. We note the ongoing problem of air pollution in Hong Kong and Seoul as well as in Beijing, New Delhi and other cities of the world. Bless our political and economic leaders with a new commitment to take action to reverse a process that is endangering our health and the ability to live a fruitful life.
We wake up today, Lord, to a world that is not wonderful as we watch political leaders in the United States and Britain seek to make political points instead of responding to the crises of a government shutdown and Brexit. Guide the leaders of these nations with your wisdom, Lord, to resolve these problems and to serve the best interests of their people instead of their own narrow political self-interests.
We wake up today, Lord, and find that our own community of Hong Kong is not wonderful as there is now a controversy over raising the eligible age to receive an elderly welfare benefit from 60 to 65. We are also about to witness another struggle between rural villagers and the government over the creation of new towns in the New Territories. May the policies of our government be driven by compassion for those without power; may the government listen to the voices of those who will be affected by its policies.
With others around the world, Lord, we lift up our prayers today to you for the people of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. We pray that negotiations involving all parties will resolve decades of tension between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in order to restore normal relations between all three nations. We also pray that the Greek people will soon enjoy an end to their economic suffering from years of austerity measures and that the tens of thousands of refugees in Greece and Turkey will quickly be resettled so that they can begin a new life.
In our own faith community, we pray, Lord, for a speedy recovery for members of our congregation who have been recently hospitalized or who have been ill. Bless them with renewed strength and the patience to heal. We also remember those who have recently lost loved ones. Comfort them, and fill them with your love and peace.
We lift up these prayers to you, Lord, in your Son’s name. Amen.
Bruce Van Voorhis serves the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs in Hong Kong. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.