Lectionary Selection: Mark 7 :1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Prayers for Nicaragua:
Our God full of love, grace and mercy we thank You. Not only did You create humanity but You also prepared a place for us to live in harmony so that we can usher in the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. You formed us magnificently with eyes to see in our own way the evidence of your presence with us; ears to hear your voice of guidance; a mouth to share the Good News of Jesus and a way to transport—by feet, cane, walker or wheel chair, the Good News to others. In that we are not presently living harmoniously, Lord we pray for courage to see, hear, speak and stand for justice—when it is challenged, peace—-in the midst of violence and equality—-for all creation when it is violated. We pray for the parents whose sons and daughters were murdered as they took a stand for justice. We pray for spiritual transformation on the inside of our government leaders. We pray for strength to stay steadfast on the journey. We pray that our country will soon live in harmony. We pray that The Kingdom of God on earth will prevail. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:56-69
Prayers for Lebanon:
We come to you, O living Father, the supplier of the bread that feeds and leads to eternal life, asking you once again to help us seek that which is true nourishment. We live in a place where the few enrich themselves with the bread of pride and the spirit of greed. And the many, the Lebanese people, simply want to live in a land of justice, respect and a hopeful future for their children, but are instead given the bread of bitterness and discouragement. Will these things around us ever change, O Lord? Will our hearts ever change? Will we, all of us, ever desire to live by your Spirit, and not according to our appetites and opinions?
Help us to see that we have no one on earth but you, and no one we desire in heaven besides you. Help us to hear the words of life and to follow them above all else. We ask the same for this struggling country; from its politicians to its wealthy to its struggling families to its refugees, all the way to those among us who seek to harm and control others.
Humble our hearts to seek your ways, not to wander off into meaningless journeys, but to walk with you now and into eternity. Amen.
Lectionary Selection: John 6:51-58
Prayers for Venezuela:
Oh, God our creator and giver of life, we pray for the people and the churches of Venezuela. They are passing through critical times. As they face a serious economic, social, and political situation, we call upon your mercy and kindness to provide a vision of peace and justice, to create a national consensus, and to construct a real process of reconciliation.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, your son, incarnated in our history, as a giver of life. Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:35, 41-51
Prayers for Israel/Palestine:
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
The incarnate word of God is bread, bread that is harvested and baked by human hands. We participate in the life of Christ not only at the communion table but when we become the bread of life for others, when we stand up for those who are lacking the most essential goods and services to live.
In mid July, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the communal crossing that allows goods in and out of the besieged Gaza Strip. The closure has led to a shortage of cooking gas and fuel leading to a crisis for essential services like sewage and waste management to medical care. Blocked medical supplies and equipment has put many lives in danger. No clean water to drink and a polluted sea has made many more dangerously ill. At present nearly two million Palestinian residents of Gaza, over half of whom are children, receive electricity for no more than four hours each day. Things were are so bad that the patients at the Gaza City Hospital staged a sit in to raise awareness of these shortages facing medical facilities as the result of the 11 year old blockade and sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority.
The Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and the YWCA of Palestine, two of Global Ministries partners, supported the Great March of Return that began in mid May calling the world’s attention to the dire situation of Gazan refugees who asserted with dignity their right to return to their homes just across the fence, and to live in freedom. The YWCA asks that you stand with them now as they demand that Israel rescind these severe restrictions and the Palestinian Authority its collective punishment against the Gazan people.
If Jesus is indeed the bread of life and we partake in that life then we too must do all we can to stand against all policies or actions that deny life for others. We, who believe in the resurrection, must stand for life. We must become bread for others to live.
A Communion Liturgy for this special day
God of hope
open the doors of heaven
and rain down manna.
Feed us with your Son
whose life was broken open for us
God of hope
in such dark times as these
give us enough
love and outrage
to put out the fires
of hatred and injustice around us
give us enough
to fill our baskets with food for all
even left overs.
Jesus, we come to this table
broken and beautiful
just as we are----
young and older.
We come to drink from the cup of blessing
to eat from the bread of life.
Spirit of the living God
bless this bread
so that it may nourish us
to be your hands and feet.
Bless this wine
so that it may fill us
with your compassion.
Words of Institution
The table is set.
All is prepared.
Come as you are.
All are welcome to the banquet of life.
God of today and tomorrow
we live between memory and hope
for your kin-dom come
on earth as it is in heaven.
We go forth now
full and ready
to do your work
in faith and love.
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:24-35
Prayers for Kenya:
Father, in the Mighty name of Jesus I thank You. I thank You because all power belongs to You. I thank You because You always answer our prayers. I ask for forgiveness on behalf of our land and nation, Kenya. Forgive us, for we have not walked in your ways. Remember your people, Lord, those tossed about, oppressed, and trampled upon by political situations, hunger, and thirst. O Lord, remember mercy and heal this land.
Dear God, guide the country of Kenya; may the people and the leaders place all their faith, hope, trust, and love in you to nurture the ideals of equality and brotherhood, to provide the opportunities of life for all, to value and protect the rights of individuals, to build up a sturdy and industrious generation, to grant justice to all regardless of caste or creed, to be strong in battle for the right, magnanimous in victory, and honorable in the establishment of a just and charitable peace, and to follow after righteousness and godliness that alone exalts a nation.
I decree peace, prosperity, and blessing to this land. Let peace be upon Nairobi, let peace be upon the four corners of this great land. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen
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Lectionary Selection: John 6:1-21
Prayers for Mexico:
God Father and Mother,
Thank you for your word that comforts us and encourages us in the middle of the road. Through Jesus Christ, your incarnate word, that identified with our realities and announces the arrival of your kingdom of justice, peace, and truth.
Strengthen us in the presence of your Holy Spirit, divine breath that brings us health and well-being in the midst of pain and suffering. Let your light shine on our footsteps and your warmth light up our love.
We implore your piety, oh good Lord, for those who suffer because of illness, hunger and injustice. May your ears be inclined to the cry of the oppressed, may your eyes see the pain of those who suffer and hurry, oh good Lord, your salvation.
Hug us with your love and bless us in your mercy. The example of Jesus and the strength of your Spirit sustain our witness and service in the midst of your people. Thank you for giving us the privilege of humbly announcing the good news of the arrival of your kingdom. Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Prayers for Colombia:
Today we pray for the country of Colombia and our partners in mission there. Guide them as they continue to work for the full implementation of the peace accords that have brought terrible fighting to an end. Encourage them as they prepare for a new presidential administration that has spoken out against the peace accords. Show them a way forward for the peace talks between the government and the ELN guerrilla.
May your compassion, oh Lord, be known through the work of our partners as they minister to the millions of internally displaced persons in Colombia, as they work for the reintegration of former combatants into civilian life and as they speak out for restorative justice and reconciliation even in the midst of ongoing violence. May your healing touch be felt in their lives and seen through their ministries.
We thank you for the witness of Justapaz and of the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia. Watch over them and give them strength as they witness to your peace with justice in Colombia.
Lectionary Selection: Mark 6:14-29
Prayers for Ecuador:
As Ecuador faces a changing social landscape, I pray that you give them a peaceful resilience. I pray that you will give them courage in the face of challenges. John the Baptist chose to denounce leadership in favor of justice, regardless of what the consequences might be. In the same way, please help the people of Ecuador to remain kind, and compassionate toward those seeking refuge in their country, despite fears stemming from the hate-driven actions of few. Help them to remain strong as they face new and foreign obstacles that may at first seem insurmountable. FEDICE is also facing a time of new challenges. As the organization faces these times of change and transition, walk with them, ease their fears, and feed their drive. Please continue to guide them, strengthen them, and bless them. The faith they have shown me is unparalleled, and their commitment to your work is astounding, they truly embody what it means to serve all brothers and sisters faithfully. I am so thankful that they remain eternally optimistic and certain that you will bring them what is best. So I pray for guidance, wisdom, and peace for both Ecuador and FEDICE.
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Lectionary Selection: Mark 6:1-13
Prayers for the United Kingdom:
God help us see the gifts of each other. Help us value the people living in our communities as well as praising others who have travelled great distances to do your work. We know that You are needed everywhere: near and far, among the rich and the poor. For when we are ourselves empowered, we enlighten others to feel empowered as well. When we ourselves are doing Your good work at home, we can share those blessings with others around the world. We are thankful for those whom you sent. Specifically, we pray for the United Kingdom during this tumultuous time of the Windrush scandal and Brexit. We pray that those who were not born in the UK, but invited to live and work there, feel welcomed, loved and supported. We pray that the ever-changing diversity of Britain is held with high political and social importance. Lift up the Roma community specifically Lord and help the British and Roma cultures live peacefully together. Open our ears so that we might begin to understand each other. Lord, support the URC church in its proactive work in local communities. Inspire the members of the churches to contribute time and creativity to the local projects. Amen.
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Lectionary Selection: Mark 5:21-43
Prayers for Paraguay:
We give thanks to God for those who collaborate to make it possible for us to accompany the Paraguayan people in complex times and for His Word that traces the way forward. Let us continue to pray that God will continue to provide the necessary resources so that this touch of the invisible woman of the biblical story continues to stop the Paraguayan people's illnesses, such as misunderstanding, devaluation and social injustice. Let them face the daily life of pain and scarcity with much hope, believing the God of life, who will be with them. Pray that we can continue to be supportive - supporting them, accompanying them and giving them the tools that will allow them to heal. Let us make the words of Jesus our own when he told his disciples, so that we could do as He had done (John 13:15). Let us follow the modeling of Jesus, blessing and making presence in this blessed land. May God help us. Amen