Creator God, today we honor our mothers and remember how they have given birth to us and have nurtured us throughout our lives. Through our times of joy and our times of sorrow, they have always stood beside us and supported us. Words are not adequate enough to express the immense blessing that our mothers are to our lives. Today, and throughout the year, we give thanks for our mothers in our lives.
Words are inadequate too to convey our gratitude to you as well, Mother God—the divine source of all physical and spiritual life. Without you, there is no life, no peace, no joy. On this Mother’s Day, we lift our hearts up to you in thanksgiving for your grace, your love, your wisdom, that is such a blessing to us.
Unfortunately, too often the human family does not preserve life, does not protect life, does not respect life. We especially lift our voices up today for peace for the people of the Middle East and North Africa, the people in particular in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Yemen and Libya—people who have known violence and war daily for far too many years. We pray for an end to this destruction of life, property, livelihoods and dreams. May those who have lost loved ones be consoled, may those who are injured be healed, may those who are seeking refuge find food, shelter and, most of all, security.
As the ruling party holds its first congress in nearly 40 years in North Korea, we pray that fostering peace with its neighbors and the world will be at the top of the gathering’s agenda. For too long, the people of the Korean Peninsula have been held hostage to the tensions and distrust between the governments in the North and in the South. Preparations for war sap resources for education, health care and other important necessities of life. May today’s nuclear swords and spears be transformed into plowshares and pruning hooks, and may war and the threat of war become a relic of the past so that your peace may be people’s new experience of life in this part of the world.
We are saddened that schools have been burned to the ground in South Africa’s province of Limpopo as protesters demonstrate against the redrawing of district boundaries in the province that they fear will further prolong the provision of better housing and utilities. May your wisdom guide discussions to resolve this conflict without further violence and without the destruction of more schools that impedes the education of the area’s children.
We are concerned today about the Canadian wildfire devouring the area around Fort McMurray in Alberta. We pray for the safety of those who are threatened by the fire. We pray too for those fighting this inferno and ask that rain will soon come to aid them.
In Hong Kong, we give thanks for the freedom of religion that we enjoy. We pray that this respect for all faiths will spread to mainland China as well so that Muslims in the northwestern areas of the country and Tibetan Buddhists in particular can practice their faith in peace without any restrictions.
In our community, we lift up to you villagers in the northeastern New Territories whose homes were recently demolished by the government in the name of development. We ask that they will be justly compensated and resettled as a community in a new area soon and that their voices will guide the resettlement process.
Our prayers today are also for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, the lonely in our city who may feel alienated and lost. Bless them, Lord, with food, with shelter, with work, with love, with hope.
We also pray today for other marginalized people in our society—our community’s sexual minorities. May the launch of the Covenant of the Rainbow’s booklet affirming pastoral care for Christian sexual minorities offer them care, compassion, respect and dignity as God’s children. May this publication help integrate them into the household of God.
With our brothers and sisters around the world, we pray today for the people and churches of Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. These nations have suffered from too much violence, too much poverty, too much mistrust and too much corruption for too many years. May the power of your peace and your love, Lord, replace the power of greed that infects these nations. May the lives of our African sisters and brothers be transformed by the transformation of the priorities of their leaders.
In our own faith community, we ask, Lord, that your wisdom will guide us as we hold the annual general meeting of our congregation in two weeks so that the outcome of our deliberations may reflect the role that you intend for us in our community and in the world.
We lift these prayers up to you, Creator God, on this day that we celebrate the gift of life and those who have given it to us—our mothers and you. Amen.
Bruce Van Voorhis serves as missionary with the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCA’s in Hong Kong. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.