Lectionary Selection: John 1:10-18
Prayers for Korea:
Oh charitable and merciful God,
In this season, we give thanks for Your Son, whom we call Immanuel. He who would reunify us with you. He that has always been. He that was the Word. He was born as the Messiah, a Savior of mankind. He came to save us from our own flawed nature, redeem us for our transgressions, and to interconnect us with the Holy Spirit.
During the Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of your child. Likewise, we celebrate the precious gifts and future that come with the next generation of humanity. Please aid us in cherishing and teaching them as You would have us - in love and faith.
In Korea, we pray for a peaceful reunification of the peninsula in which all are free from oppression and repression. We pray that the English language program at Yang Mu Ri Presbyterian Church continues to provide financial opportunities and bright horizons that might be otherwise limited. Finally, please continue to keep us safe from Covid-19 and help us continue to weather this storm successfully to the end.
In the name of the Holy Trinity, we pray. AmenRead more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 1:26-38
Prayers for Japan
How can this be God?
You always come to us in the form of a promise. You speak to us even when we are so vulnerable and small. You place your trust in us even when we struggle with our own doubts.
How can this be God?
That your words fill us with longed for hope. Your angel’s blessing carries us beyond ourselves. You connect us to a long list of sojourners who dared to believe the promise of your love for all.
How can this be God?
At first perplexed, Mary opened herself to listen, and finally was convinced when the angel pronounced that “the Most High will overshadow you.” Let the birth of your Savior in our midst be for us a chance to let go of the skeptical “How can this be?” and embrace the heart that says “Let it be with me.” May your will be done in and through all hearts that place their trust in you.Read more
“He aquí un ángel del Señor apareció en sueños a José y dijo: Levántate y toma al niño y a su madre, y huye a Egipto, y permanece allá hasta que yo te diga; porque acontecerá que Herodes buscará al niño para matarlo.” Mateo 2: 13
Así como el niño Jesús y sus padres huyeron de la ira del rey Herodes, millones de refugiados y solicitantes de asilo de todo el mundo buscan seguridad y protección en un país extranjero. En esta época, recordamos a aquellos que deben huir de su tierra natal por amenazas de violencia, persecución y muerte. ¿Quiénes son los ángeles que velarán por su peligroso viaje? ¿Dónde están los hombres y mujeres sabios que frustrarán los poderes del mal?Read more
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2: 13
Just as the baby Jesus and his parents fled from King Herod’s wrath, millions of refugees and asylum seekers around the world seek security and protection in a foreign land. In this season, we remember those who must flee their homeland because of threats of violence, persecution, and death. Who are the angels who will watch over their perilous journey? Where are the wise men and women who will thwart the evil powers?Read more
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, AmenRead more
There is a joke among expatriates that we came to Hong Kong for four years and ended up staying 50 years. That’s something like my story, though I am not yet qualified to celebrate a Golden Jubilee. Still, when I arrived at Kai Tak Airport in May 1994 on a four-year contract, I had no idea how long I would stay. I only knew I hoped it was for as long as possible. Twenty-six years later, I officially retired from the Hong Kong Christian Council on June 30. I will conclude mission service with Global Ministries on December 31, 2020.Read more
Since its beginning, ARI has held its annual Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration, or HTC, to celebrate and give thanks to God for the harvest and for the many blessings we have. Since I arrived in March I had heard people talking about HTC in a way that implied it was important, spiritually significant, heart-warming, stressful, but overall something very near and dear to ARI, but to understand the depth of these feelings I had to be a part of its preparation myself.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Philippians 4:1-9
Prayers for Japan:
Loving God, in the midst of the long-lasting pandemic we pray for the people of the world, especially those who are most vulnerable, those who are grieving, those who have lost jobs, or hope for the future.
We pray for those who are blamed for having caught the virus or shunned because a family member has. Let us not let the spread of blaming or shaming add more suffering.
We pray for the leaders of the nations, that they will put politics aside to save lives and uphold democracy at this critical time.Read more
The United Church of Christ through Global Ministries has a long history of partnership and solidarity with the people of the Philippines. For the past few years, many of our church partners have been targeted by the government of President Duterte. Both the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines have been “red tagged” as groups that support the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) fighting against the government. Their offices have been searched and pastors and church members have been harassed, arrested, and/or killed.Read more