It has been over a week and violence continues to rock the city of Delhi, India resulting in the death of 46 people and injuring over 200. Some parts of Delhi have turned into ghost towns. Muslims hide in fear of further attacks, and life in the city is paralyzed. News and rumors of violence continue to create panic and paranoia.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 3:1-17
Prayers for Indonesia:
Loving Creator, the earth cries out against us. Open our ears! Volcanoes drown islands in ash in the Philippines and raging fires spin into tornadoes in Australia. Today we pray especially for Indonesia: for slum dwellers in Jakarta who die in floods; for the forests and air of Kalimantan where fires clearing land for palm oil plantations burn out of control, releasing microscopic toxins into the air; for the earth, waters, and indigenous peoples of Papua where security forces violate human rights while protecting the exploitation of resources. We confess we have become inured to news of our dying world and cling to the very lifestyles that hasten destruction. We allow abuse and neglect to flourish. We seek Your forgiveness, redemption, and grace, O Great Spirit. Pour a special blessing on the Christians of South Central Alor that their trees may flourish and their enthusiasm be sustained. May their care for the earth inspire us as well, that all be born again into the Spirit of radical love for the environment. Open our ears, our hearts, and our hands that we, our children and grandchildren, are not condemned but saved through Jesus whose ministry was one with creation.Read more
Pero Jesús le respondió: Deja ahora, porque así conviene que cumplamos toda justicia. Entonces le dejó.
Written by Connie Larkman, originally posted here.
They were 12 travelers, representing three denominations, visiting more than a dozen partners in three countries over 10 days. A pilgrimage to Southern Asia, Jan. 25- Feb. 7, proved to be a powerful experience for leaders of the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Canada.Read more
As part of the Southern Asia Initiative, eleven participants are on a pilgrimage in Southern Asia, including leadership from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and the United Church of Canada. There, participants will meet and visit various Global Ministries’ partners to celebrate relationships and to walk Together in Hope. The following reflections will take us through their pilgrimage and help us to more deeply understand the joys and challenges in the region so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.Read more
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Lectionary Selection: Matthew 3:13-17
Prayers for Indonesia:
O Blessed Creator, You have spread the seas of Indonesia with thousands of islands, each a place of beauty and abundant life. And yet every day our cities pour out pollution, and the sea level rises higher. The burning of forests for palm oil plantations fills the air with carbon and darkens the sun, while your people struggle to find enough clean water to drink, cook, and bathe. Corruption subverts our best efforts to restore the beauty of Your creation. Baptize Your world once again—clean our air, clean our water, clean our politics and our economy, clean our hearts. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who was baptized in order to share all our burdens. Amen.Read more
Rain, glorious rain! It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting in our living room basking in a cool breeze and watching rain pour off our corrugated iron roof.Read more
The National Council of Churches in India, which is a fellowship of 30 churches representing 14 million people, is strongly against religion-based citizenship. Indian Christians have held this stand ever since the formation of India as an independent democratic republic. We strongly believe that any amendment to say legislation should keep in mind the secular ethos of the Constitution.
We believe that an India without its many multiplicities is not the India that we know and any attempt to homogenize religion, culture, language, and practices will only polarise communities. Any law which goes against this principle will harm the Indian living system.
The present Citizenship Amendment Act is projected as a measure to safeguard persecuted people from three neighboring countries. However, instead of persecution and suffering of people as a criterion, the Act has given special preference to people who belong to different religions including Christians. Although Christians are included, we understand the exclusion of some categories of people within this act polarizes communities based on faith and creed.
Moreover, the Act underlines the message that religion is the criteria to remain a citizen in this country. This is in contravention to the fundamental principles of the Indian Constitution. As the core spirit of the Constitution is being challenged, the minorities will face even more anxiety and fear.
The reactions and protests in Northeast India point towards how the indigenous people of the region are skeptical of this Act and the National Register for Citizenship (NRC). We affirm the demands of indigenous communities to retain and celebrate their distinctive cultural and linguistic heritage and traditions. While the government is keen on a nationwide NRC exercise as a tool to build an "New India," many continue to live in fear of exclusion. Assam, which became the first demographic laboratory for the testing of NRC, is witnessing a lot of protests.
Furthermore, the present outbreak of protests from young people from university campuses against religion-based citizenship and the counteractions of police forces are creating havoc in society. We are concerned about the psychological trauma of the younger generations who witness the result of ruthless violence charged with communal fervor.
Therefore, we ask the Government to end any act of "othering" of the minorities to make for a peaceful atmosphere in India. The National Council of Churches in India assures our prayers and support for maintaining peace in our country. Also, we request our churches and organizations take efforts locally to ensure peace.
Rev. Dr. Abraham Mathew
Executive Secretary, Policy Governance and Public Witness
Rev. Asir Ebenazer
General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India
This fall, John and I took our annual vacation and combined it with some of next year’s vacation (thank you, Global Ministries) for an extended visit to the US.Read more