Lectionary Selection: Luke 19:1-10
Prayers for Lesotho:
O God, we pray for rain here in Lesotho. I don’t know if you do or don’t work like that—causing rains to come, responding to our petitions for it. I’ve heard some people I love and respect who say you do, and some who say you don’t. But that doesn’t matter in this prayer. What matters is the rains are long past due, as they have been for the past several years, and it’s causing a heartbreaking dryness that is felt here in this beautiful land. And so we, with all your people and creation here, need to say this to you.
The same thing, O God, is true of prayers for justice, prayers for peace, prayers for prosperity. Khotso, Pula, Nala. (Peace, Rain, Prosperity; Lesotho’s Motto.) We need to say it, God. Saying it doesn’t absolve us of our role in any of it. Zacchaeus had to admit his injustice and the injustice of the system he benefited from, as well as his plan to make things right. But first, he had to climb the tree to see Jesus and get a sense of the salvation coming that way. So for us, O God, we simply say these things in this prayer as our way of climbing that tree: to get a glimpse of your salvation. What comes next—from you, from others, from us—I don’t know.
But I hope it’s rain.
Lectionary Selection: Luke 14:1, 7-14
Prayers for Lesotho:
O God, we pray for Lesotho, a country that holds both spectacular beauty and stark challenges within its borders.
We are grateful for the magnificence of the mountains and the alluring austerity of the lowlands in mid-winter. We thank you for the richness and goodness of life lived, from the chaotic hustle and bustle of marketplaces to the isolation and solitude of expansive grazing lands. We are grateful for your presence in us and among us.
We pray for farmers who painstakingly wait months for rain to fall so that they can plant their crops. We pray for herd boys, as young as four years old, who spend days alone with their sheep on high, sunny, windswept mountain slopes. We pray for pregnant women who travel from remote villages to reside among strangers at hospitals for weeks before their babies are born. We pray for men who leave their loved ones for months at a time to labor in the dangerous mines of South Africa. We pray for laborers who make the heavy choice to leave their beloved homeplaces in order to seek better economic opportunities in lowland cities. We pray for those who have too many funerals to attend on the same Saturday, who must choose which loved-one’s burial they witness.
In this time of political unrest, we pray for government leaders, that there will be an end to warring party factions, instability, and corruption. We pray for wise and honest leadership that will direct Lesotho toward justice, prosperity, and peace.
We pray for the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) as it seeks to live out God’s call to minister to the poor and marginalized. Give them vision as they prepare for their annual Pilgrimage of Peace and Justice in October. Guide them in developing new ways of communicating their Strategic Plan. Watch over those involved in the implementation of church projects from the completion of church halls and pastors houses to the delivery of furniture and toilets to schools that need them, to the improvement of spaces for waiting mothers at health institutions.
We pray for justice, that all people are invited to the table, that all are welcomed and honored.
After a lifetime spent in either the Northern Hemisphere or the tropics it seems a little odd to be commemorating Ascension Day and Pentecost as temperatures are getting cold. (And even if winter isn’t technically quite here yet in Lesotho, nor in its full fury, things have definitely shifted from cool to cold; most conversations pretty quickly include the phrase “Hoa bata,” (it’s cold) and the acknowledgment that winter is here.)Read more
Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa
How do you write, with any real understanding, about a place you’ve only known for three weeks? As of this writing that’s how long we’ve been here. Yes, it’s been a great three weeks, but at this point, we’ve only had an initial meeting, or a mere introduction, to this beautiful place full of friendly people. So how do you share with others what things are like when you’re just at the greeting stage? And yet, that is it. That’s one thing we can share for sure about Lesotho after three weeks: we’ve had good greetings!Read more
Grace Congregational UCC - Two Rivers, WI takes a special Lenten offering for Morija Theological Seminary in Lesotho
Fifteen years ago Grace Congregational United Church of Christ in Two Rivers, WI began a relationship with Mark Behle, a mission co-worker of the United Church of Christ in Lesotho.Read more
Global Ministries is excited to announce new mission priority positions in Jamaica, Haiti, and Lesotho. These are three to four year positions that meet a critical need for our partners.Read more
“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” (Romans 5:3-5)
These words of Paul in Romans bring to mind the teachers at Liepeleng Primary School. My last newsletter shared photos and information about the very trying conditions at this school of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA). Having lost in a storm their old stone classroom building, which also served as the local church, the three teachers were making do with a small makeshift shed-like structure to teach 100 students in seven different grades. My visit there with the LECSA Education Secretary was the beginning of a process to build a new classroom building. And now, at last, construction has started.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8
Prayers for Lesotho:
Gracious and merciful God,
We praise your name and give you thanks this day as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ! We thank you for sending Jesus into the world to show us the fullness of your love for us. We thank you for the hope which we have in Jesus, the Risen One. Like those who discovered the empty tomb and encountered the resurrected Christ, let us share the Good News with others! May the joy and the excitement of that first Easter morning be ours as we rejoice with our brothers and sisters and proclaim, “He is risen!”
We give thanks for our partnership in the Good News with the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa. May you guide and empower them with courage and wisdom as they continue working for justice and peace, particularly as they seek to reconcile the various political factions in the country. May their efforts bear fruit which will bring healing and encouragement to the people of Lesotho.
We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen!Read more
As you come to him, the living Stone…you also, like living stones,
are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV)