Pray with Germany, September 24, 2023
Lectionary Selection: Exodus 16:2-15
Prayers for Germany
Our God, although being in the middle of the often-rainy Germany, the experiences and the grumbling of the people of Israel are portraying our situation: We are grumbling against you. We have questions, hesitations, and unending sorrows and fear.
The unexpected happened: War is back in the middle of Europe, though over decades, churches and other actors in civil society have been engaged in creating a peaceful, interlinked, interactive Europe. We need your Manna to face the situation, to be strengthened in all the diaconical and social and spiritual work.
God, we cry to you for wisdom and for your guidance of all those who have the power to change situations. God, in our despair and with the example of Jesus’ ministry for justice and peace, we ask you for a way out of the desert of war and armed conflicts – everywhere.
God, you know that many of our ecumenical partners are expressing the challenge that other conflicts in the world aren’t more in focus, but in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Sahara Desert, and so many other places, people are trying to make their way to Europe, often without bread and meat and sometimes even without water.
Open the eyes of political leaders to see why people are escaping and what needs to be changed so that every country can offer peaceful opportunities for life and that manna can be shared. We call on you to open the world for implementing migration efforts and policies.
God, guide us wherever we are, let your mission and your call be strong, and help us to see the manna on the way.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Mission Moment from Germany
Often in the Northern Hemisphere, the image of the churches and the Protestant Churches specifically is of an institution growing older. Grey hairs are seen more often and churches are standing empty, but there is another side.
Spiritual life, meditation, and modern and traditional music mixed are touching younger generations. Questions about life beyond permanent growth are burdens for generations to come; environmental concerns, alternatives to the current economic systems, diverse communities, and acceptance of various gender identities are issues to discuss in and with the churches. And churches are opening platforms.
This especially happened on the so-called Kirchentag – a major church event and gathering where about 70,000-100,000 people of all ages – especially the younger generations – come together for five days in one of the bigger cities in Germany every second year. The most recent one was in Nuremberg in June 2023. The program is made by many. More than 2000 services, discussions, workshops, music, and cultural events were offered and attended this year. The whole city is transformed into a massive church event. It is like a booster of spiritual and communal life, a time of creating new ideas and changing and challenging local congregations.
It was and is always a huge privilege that our partners, including the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada, were able to join and enrich the program. We celebrated together a wonderful Holy Communion service in English, offered a talk on Black Lives Matter, and displayed our partnership publicly throughout the whole time at an open market in the fair center.
That’s mission – send to all, to open up space, time, and opportunities to listen to all and to offer all the chances to present … The Kirchentag in Nuremberg church was colourful, diverse, and packed, an event within and without the doors of the churches. Mission accomplished!