Lectionary Selection: Matthew 4:12-23
Prayers for Hungary:
We lift up our sisters and brothers in Hungary and those in the refugee integration ministry and the Roma mission of the Reformed Church in Hungary.
There are many times when we are so caught up in our lives that we forget to look around at the people around us. Today we confess our cold and neglectful nature: We tend to ignore the people who are alone, we run away from those who are sick, we invalidate people according to our own standards, and we refuse to lend a hand to those sitting for 38 years, day and night, alone, waiting to be helped.
There are many people fleeing their homes in search of a safe place to live. However, passages are becoming narrower and harder to pass, and families are being separated along the journey. In Hungary, we pray for the individuals and families who are being neglected and pushed to the margins of society, for those who are being persecuted for their beliefs, for those who have come in search of a better life and a better education for their children.
We are called to do something. We are called to act, to look around at those who are close to us, to those who are hurting.
Give us peace to look around at our hurting neighbors, humble our hearts so that we may do what You are calling us to do, and courage to act as Jesus did.
Escalating tensions with Iran in the last two weeks verging on war resulted in the Iraqi parliament voting overwhelmingly to expel US troops from the country. The vote was received with a strong rejection by the US, despite President Trump having campaigned on a promise to bring US troops home. Having been present as an occupying army since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the vote called renewed attention to US military presence in the region. But the US has done more to militarize the Middle East than station troops there. It has provided military arms and equipment, allocated military aid, and approved arms sales to the region in staggering quantities.
Please contact your representatives in Washington, urging them to constrain the US military presence in the Middle East in the form of troops, military aid, provision of arms, and arms sales approvals.Read more
The work of Al Amana Centre is based on 125 years of collaboration between Christians and Muslims in the Sultanate of Oman. The Reformed Church in America began collaborating with the people in Oman already in the year 1892. In schools and hospitals, they worked together with Omanis to educate and treat people.
We know you have been following the news from the greater region of the Middle East over the past days. We certainly do that here as well. How things are here? How could people of faith pray for the region? What could be done in the US and around the world by the churches?
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’
—Psalm 46: 5-6, 9-10
Anger and animosity. Threats. Murder and assassinations. Military bluster and belligerency. Calls for revenge and retaliation. In the past several days, we have witnessed the rapid escalation in hostilities verging on all-out war between the United States and Iran.Read more
Israel demolished a record number of homes in East Jerusalem in 2019, also setting a record for homes demolished by their own owners on Israel’s orders. The number of homes Israel demolished in the rest of the West Bank, both over permit issues and as a punitive measure, also spiked in the past year.Read more
Like Autumn leaves, the years go by, and here we are at the end of another year, and ready to welcome 2020 with vigor and “Sumud” resilience. It is very important that this new generation continues to hold on to hope for justice and peace to prevail, so that our country and the whole region is spared further wars and suffering. Despite the onslaught on East Jerusalem and its institutions, Rawdat El-Zuhur continues to be a beacon of hope for those young children, so that they will carry with them beautiful memories as they leave their safe haven and face the new challenges in their new surroundings. As we send you our greetings for Christmas and the New Year, we hope we can continue to count on your support that will make a difference to the lives of those children.Read more
The Link, published on a bi-monthly basis, is Americans for Middle East Understanding's primary education and information tool. More than 175 issues of The Link have followed since the first issue in 1968.
The Link archive constitutes a body of informed commentary, fact and anecdotal evidence that is all the more valuable for writers, researchers and historians because each issue (for the most part) covers only one subject.
Click here to read the current issue, entitled, "Fact and Fiction in Palestine." This issue is written by Gil Maguire, a retired human rights lawyer. His grandfather served as a judge at the Nuremberg War Crimes. His father was a WWII pilot who, following the war, transported Jews from all over the world to the new state of Israel. All that is true. What follows, though, is a clash of two Exodus stories: one, a bestseller, written in 1957 by Leon Uris, and one a newly self-published novel by Gil Maguire.
As a Just Peace Church, the United Church of Christ has long advocated for diplomatic and peaceful engagement with Iran. We have spoken out on multiple occasions in opposition to inflammatory rhetoric and direct provocation that could ultimately lead to war. In response to recent events, our UCC leadership has issued a call to prayer and fasting for peace during this season of Epiphany, to bring us back from the brink of war with Iran.Read more
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.